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Does being a mum or dad stop you from being a great parent?

24 March
Posted by:
Michael Grose

Why is it that we all know how to raise our neighbour’s kids, but raising our own is quite different?

In my talk about teenagers I tell the story of the mother who rescued her 17 year old son from the consequences of some thoughtless, silly behaviour.

He drank so much grog one Saturday night, that he was still too ill to go to school and sit a small test on Monday.

His mother wrote a note to the school excusing her son on the grounds of illness, asking that he sit the test at another time.

Most parents in the audience shake their heads at this mother’s indiscretion to protect her son from the experiencing the consequences of some pretty dumb behaviour.

I then ask the audience how they would react if it was their son involved. Many admit that they would probably do the same as this mother.

So why is it that we can be rational and objective with other people’s kids, yet with our own kids our response is never so cut and dried?

The answer is simple. We’re related to them! The emotional connection that comes with being a mum or a dad means that we have hopes and dreams for kids. It compromises our objectivity.

This strong connection means that we’ll fight for our kids, and we’d go to the wall for them when we probably wouldn’t necessarily do the same for our neighbour’s kids.

But it can also mean that we make some less than smart choices for our kids. Sometimes we love them so much that we love them helplessly. That’s also why we need to heed the advice of teachers, our friends and colleagues about our kids.

They can be more objective.

So does being a mum or dad stop us from making smart parenting decisions?

Sometimes it does.

But it also gives us the energy and patience that we need to parent over the long haul.

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