I was reminded about how hard parenting can be when speaking to a parent after a recent talk.
She had a son who had struggled at school all his life. She’d put so much of her emotional and physical energy into helping him learn, jollying him along and nursing him through the many of the ups and downs that kids who struggle at school can experience.
Her son, now a teenager, was about to give up trying. I could see that his mother felt like giving up too!
She asked: “When do you stop being a child’s coach and cheer leader?”
The answer, of course, is that you can’t!
She knew that, but she, like her son, needed some encouragement to keep going!
We all do from time to time.
That’s why it is useful to remind yourself that parenting is a long-term activity!
The Einstein factor
I think all parents need to channel the Einstein Factor. Inventor Albert Einstein maintained that he was no smarter than anyone else, he just stayed on problems longer than most people.
With some children you have to stay on the job longer than with others.
- If you have a shy or socially-challenged child you have to stay on the job perhaps until adulthood when he or she finds their own way of building a network of friends and colleagues. In the meantime support, coach and cajole!
- If you have an child with ADHD you have to keep on the job longer, keeping him or her out of trouble. You may not see the results until their mid 20’s when all that energy goes into starting up their own business or doing something absolutely amazing. In the meantime explain, teach and be firm!
- If you have a late-bloomer you have to keep them interested in learning, so that they readily learn the practical skills of needed to succeed in the workplace and in business, where many kids who struggle at school end up. In the meantime encourage, scaffold and model learning!
We all want instant results in whatever we do. Parenting is no different!
It’s hard when the results don’t come. But you’ve got to keep on doing the right things, and making the best choices for your kids. In other words, bring the Einstein factor into your parenting. To help do this:
- Get support and feedback from your partner, or a colleague. Feedback fires you up.
- Keep building your skills and knowledge that will help your kids be successful or overcome individual challenges. Kids get lifelong learning from parents, more than school.
- Be around people who fire you up, support you and energise you. It’s no coincidence that great parents hang out together. Support keeps you grounded.
Small hinges swing big doors
A former parenting mentor used to say, “Small hinges swing big doors.” He meant that it’s the little things done on a regular basis by parents that make the biggest difference to kids.
You’ve just got to choose the right actions and keep doing them….day after day. And have faith that the results will come………..eventually!