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What If It's Not Enough?


What if it's not enough...you know, what you're doing as a parent? Parenting is a task, it's a job, it's the biggest responsibility you will ever have as an adult. What if what you're doing is not enough? How can you tell, how would you know? I mean, it's not like your children walk around with warning signs above their heads like you get on your cell phone, you know, your battery is almost out or on the fuel gauge in the car, you are on low fuel. What if what you are doing is not enough?

Your children depend upon you for everything. Everything. Sure, you try your best, you say. But hey, you get to have a life too, right? No. You do not get to have a life, if it means that you are neglecting your children. How would you know if you are neglecting them? How would you know? It's not like you ever ask your child: Hey, do I pay enough attention to you? I mean, really, what if your child said, "NO!" What would you do then?

Is your child happy? Is your child eager to get up in the morning? Does your child pleasantly do as he is requested? Does your child talk to you, converse with you, sit near you? Think about it. What exactly do you know about your child? Does he like biology, but not the teacher? Is he interested in music, especially music from the 50's? Does your child know anything about you? Does he know about the things you wanted to do but never did, and the things you did but should not have? Does your child know what your dreams were, and do you know any of your child's dreams? Do you know each other at all? If we choose to not invest our time in our children, we cannot really expect the children to invest time in us. Parents too often believe that their child has a problem, but, more than likely, parents have contributed to the problem.

Our responsibility as parents is to raise our children. Raise them, not merely feed them, interrogate them. (Did you do your homework), and chastise them for getting into trouble at school. We have a responsibility to encourage, guide, and love our children. Encouraging your child requires that you talk with him, know just where his interests lay, and what is he is looking forward to and with whom. Knowing what he needs and assisting in his taking care of the need. Guiding requires that we make personal connections with our child everyday to see how he is feeling and what is happening with him. Listening to her when she talks and making small objective suggestions, sometimes offering up our own adolescent mistakes as information for her current decision-making. Loving, spend time with your child doing what he or she likes to do, with you. Buy him something as a whim, new socks, the kind he would buy, or get her favorite cereal, even if there is sugar in it, or get him the new DVD, leave it on his bed with a note, "Thought you might like this. Love, Mom." Tell your child you think about and love him. Touch, hug, and kiss your child.

What if it's not enough what you are doing as a parent? It may be too late...but maybe not. Don't go easy into that dark night, make an effort, try harder than you have all year. Be a kinder, gentler parent. Think about how you felt as a child or adolescent and what you needed, then consider your child. What does she need and how can you help her achieve that? You spend time with your friends and that seems to work, so you should be able to do it with your child. If it's not enough, you will know it. You will know it, because you recognize that you do not feel close to your child and that means that your child does not feel close to you. If so, your child answers all your questions with one word and he has a poor attitude, and it's your doing. You can fix your relationship with your child. Your child is waiting for you to do so. What are you waiting for? Maybe you can learn to do enough.

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