The Evolution Of A Parent

THE Relationship Blog

So we have established that people change. If this is not established in your mind, take it and believe it. Everybody changes, whether they want to or not. The only question is whether you will allow healthy growth or painfully resist but one way or another change will occur. Knowing this, what do you do about it? As a parent, how does this come into play?

The role of change and parenting is something that we can speak about with authority. We are the parents of an 18 year old daughter, a 7 year old son, and a 4 year old son. Our daughter did not have the same parents as our 4 year old. Sure, their parents were the same in genetic structure but not in psyche. Our daughter’s parents were paranoid, constantly waiting for the boogie man that would tear apart our happy home. And, of course, she has special needs which only confirmed that at any moment God would reach down to smite us when we least expected it. Therefore we always expected it. That will teach the Big Guy not to mess with us.

By the time the boys came around our relationship with God and reality had mellowed a bit. God is on our side, the boys are armor plated, and we have learned to keep our worries in check. Obviously the only thing in this scenario that has changed is us. The Big Man has stayed pretty constant and there is no new indestructability technology that is protecting the boys. (But it would be cool if there was. Like an Iron Man suit or something.)

The important part of this change in parenting is the acknowledgement that we have and are constantly changing as parents. Nothing good can come from pretending that the same rules and beliefs that we had with our daughter still have to apply to our boys. Nor will it work to assume that the same relationship we had with our daughter a year ago applies to now. This weekend, our daughter will come home from college for the first time and spend Thanksgiving with us. Last time she was at home, she was dependent and ‘under our roof’ with all of the poopoo that comes with it. But she has changed and our relationship has to change with her. The first step in creating this evolution is to acknowledge that it is happening.

This evolution continues all through our lives. Even in our 40’s, our relationships with our own parent’s changes for better or worse. As things out of our control influence us and force change, the threads of relationship bend and flex to accommodate the changes. A parent or child becomes ill and we change. If they get better then we must evolve the relationship. If they do not then we still must evolve the relationship.

Changes in the body, alterations in hormone levels, and the human experience flowing through Erikson’s developmental stages are not just confined to specific areas or times in our lives. They do not solely belong to adolescents and menopause. They are not confined to birth and end of life. We change every day. We evolve constantly. With every blink of the eye, we have a new opportunity, a new responsibility, to create something wonderful in our relationships.

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