Publisher’s Perspective: Parenting in 2018 – Part 4 (opinion)
February 8, 2018
What do you fear most about raising your child?
It's a simple question, yet it evokes complicated thoughts and feelings that can cause unrest for a parent. The answers from the parenting panel ranged from not spending enough time with their kids to the growing realism of being physically involved in violent public attacks, or even worse, the death of their child.
It's no secret that the world we live in is growing more violent. How do you talk to kids about violence and teach independence in a world that is growing more dangerous?
It's tough. Kids need to know about the real dangers but you can't scare them into ongoing fear where they don't live life to the fullest. As one parent framed it: "You have to be honest. No sugar coating, but you can't scare them too much."
It's a fine line to walk, but one that needs to be traveled. I think that if you can lay the general foundation for your kids about right and wrong and that there is a clear understanding that people are different and behave in different ways, then their experiences will fill in the gaps as they grow older.
That "letting them fill in the gaps on their own" part is important. I believe it allows them to mold the individual they are growing up to be. We should never want our children to be like someone else. Each and every person is unique in his or her own way. As parents, it's our job to harness that and help them maximize that person.
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As one parent put it, "I focus on raising beautiful human beings."
That's a great line, but not an easy task. Parents want what's best for their child. I think for the most part we all want our kids to grow up in a better environment or situation than we did. While that thinking is good, it could easily lead to a sense of entitlement and/or indulgence.
Just as parents want that better life for their kids, they also don't want to take it this far. A single parent explained: "I try to be more or less simplistic when it comes to material things, but family and friends have an inverse mindset placing importance on money and gifts."
Another father of three added: "They push that at times and present us with a learning opportunity."
I think that's the key to this. Parents need to have a self-awareness that can help them prevent this from going too far. We're not always going to catch this. And many times we're going to have the outside influences pecking against the very morals you are trying to establish.
If we treat each experience as a means to learn and grow, not forgetting to talk to your child about it, both you and your kids will be better for it.
As this parenting series has professed, raising a child is complicated. As the grandson of a former pastor, I would be remiss if I didn't include a topic that some may deem controversial.
I asked each parent if they incorporate spiritual influence into their child's upbringing. I want to be quick to point out that my using of the word "spiritual" is intentional. It encompasses more than the word "religion" and I wanted to be fair in asking this question as people's beliefs are broad and I am not here to judge.
While not every parent actively incorporates faith or religion, most of the parents said it was at least important for their kids to be educated on the subject and give them freedom to make their own choice — whether that's spiritual or religious.
The parents who were active added comments like, "Yes, it is the foundation for all of it" to "It goes back to serving — if we serve others we realize that we should walk out being graceful."
Again, my intent on this subject matter is not to judge. I bring this question to light because it's so heavily rooted in building the foundation for some parents. For many, it helps to serve as a guide for right and wrong or an outlet for praise and sometimes, help.
I'll leave you with one last quote on this matter. One mother said, "I try to teach spiritual outlets, but really I think it's simple — to love and be accepting."
If any parent needs a place to start, those last five words are a pretty good place.
Publisher Rob Galloway can be reached at email@example.com or 530-542-8046.
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