ARE YOU PARENTING SUCCESSFULLY?

Does parenting look like you expected? How do you know if you're parenting well? Who do we want our adult children to become?

HOW DO WE KNOW IF WE'RE PARENTING WELL?

We all see that social media highlight reel of the perfect family every time we look at Instagram or Facebook - and ours never seems to measure up. Does that mean we aren't doing well at this whole parenting gig? Not at all - I think there's so much more to successful parenting than a pretty picture or two. Ultimately it comes back to each individual family unit as to how you measure whether you feel like you're doing a good job.

Some families are intertwined and even when the children are grown, they still spend a lot of time together - their version of successful parenting is about interconnection and the extended family group. Other families are more independent and launch their children into the world with the knowledge that they won't see anywhere near as much of them as they used to. Their version of successful parenting is more pragmatic, but just as valid in its own right. Completely different approaches, but as long as healthy, happy, well-adjusted adult children are the result - then we've done well haven't we?

IS PARENTING HOW YOU IMAGINED IT WOULD BE?

I guess my answer would be "yes" and "no"....... "yes" because I am extremely proud of how our children have turned out and how independent and self-sufficient they are. The "no" part is the little bit of my Mother Heart that wants to hold on long after my children have grown and flown, where I still want to be a major part of their lives. My idea of successful parenting is allowing them to detach and be independent adults creating family units of their own; and most of the time I manage to do it quite well - but there's just a little twinge now and then when I want my little children back under my wing.

Most of us have no idea how things will end up when we start our journey into parenting - all we hope for is that our kids grow up to be really good human beings - parenthood may not be exactly how we envisaged it to be back when we first held that little bundle in our arms, but we've often done much better than we give ourselves credit for. Being a steady, authentic, reliable, relatable role model is the key to producing healthy adult children for most of us.

You know you’re a success when you look at your kids and realize they turned out better than you. Joe Biden #parentingquote

WHAT PARENTING CRITERIA SHOULD WE BE USING?

It can be difficult to measure if you did a good job of parenting your children at times. Some parents struggle with putting in their best efforts, only to find that their adult children turn their back on it all and make some truly awful decisions. It's so hard to be the parent of a child who makes wrong choices over and over again. I know of people who have adult "children" with many different problems and those whose children got mixed up with the wrong peer group at the wrong time and headed off down the wrong track, turning their backs on all their parents' hopes for them. Unfortunately there are no absolute guarantees in the parenting world.

At the same time, for every child who becomes an adult like that, there are many more who become wonderful adults with successful careers, strong and loving family units of their own, interesting lives, and who have far surpassed anything their parents may have tentatively wanted for them. It seems risky to hope or expect too much - we don't want to put too much pressure on them, but when they go on to achieve their dreams it's such a heartwarming experience to share in.

RAISING WELL BALANCED OFFSPRING

There is such a sense of satisfaction in seeing our children launch themselves into the world and find their own way to a good life. It's rewarding watching our children excel in their education and in their careers. They often progress further and faster than we did at their age and it's a testimony to their diligence and commitment to study and a strong work ethic that gets them there. (I'd like to think that their parents had a little bit of input too!)

But it's not just how well they've done in the material world, it's also about the type of people they are becoming. As a parent I think we are even more pleased when we see them mature and make good decisions and become really good human beings. It's nice to see them contributing to the world, investing in other people and in the generation behind them too. Creating kind and compassionate human beings is definitely a sign of successful parenting.

Happiness is when you realize that your kids have turned out to be good people. #parentingquote

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are your children heading down the path you'd hoped they would? Have they chosen good friends? Are you being a strong role model? Are you allowing them to be individuals in their own right? There's so many influences on our kids these days - let's do our best to steer them towards positive examples and encourage them to be the best they're capable of becoming.


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32 comments

  1. I also like to give most of the credit to parents. Before I had children I thought it was luck to get a good child. The greater part is the parenting, so well done Leanne and hubby. Like you my heart goes out to those parents who despite doing a good job, their children make wrong choices.
    Thanks for sharing a lovely post.
    Kathleen
    Fridays Blog Booster Party #27

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    1. I do think that that the foundations you build into your children pay off in most cases and it's lovely to reap some of the rewards of all that hard work :)

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  2. I wasn't prepared for the 24/7 demands of a new baby, but once the shock of that wore off, it was an adventure beyond compare to raise a child. I have one son and he is terrific and now a dad to two sons who I adore. I have a friend whose son did "Adult Time Out" in prison and thankfully he is now doing well and on the right track. Great post!

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    1. I like the idea of "adult time out" especially if it worked - we did a lot of time out with our kids when they were small - obviously it put them off doing it as adults :)

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  3. It's a good feeling when your children make you proud! We're the lucky ones!

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    1. we are indeed Rena - not sure what we did right but I'm really glad we did it!

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  4. I get teary and am so proud of the way my children parent their children. When I compliment them they tell me they learned from the best. I am blessed.
    My heart hurts for the parents and I know some that have children that don't make the best choices.

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    1. I can't wait to see what type of parents my children make Doreen - I'm hoping we set a good example and I can get teary and proud too :)

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  5. I'm not a mom, Leanne. But I've seen how hard it is for Moms (including mine) to let go of their children! The fact that you're even writing about this means you're doing the right thing!

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    1. You do want to hang on to them Corinne, but at the same time you know it would be bad for them to do that and you can see how well they are doing - that helps balance it out :)

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  6. Very nice. I am learning that as I my kids are now adults.

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  7. Hi Leanne! You've mentioned this before and I so agree that as a parent you have much to be proud of. I've always believed as Kahil Gibran says in his poetry,
    "Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you."
    Congratulations! ~Kathy

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    1. that's beautiful Kathy - and sums up the whole idea that we build into them as much as we can but ultimately they are their own people :) I love your profound thoughts!

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  8. There is nothing more satisfying than to see my children becoming what I worked so hard to become myself. It's in those moments when I feel like everything will be okay, and I forget all the things I didn't give them but wanted to. Because their culture and personality is what mattered most, and everything else is secondary.
    -Tara
    FridayReflections

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    1. I'm the same Tara, I wonder whether not having everything given to them as children was good or bad, and now I can see it made them stronger and more resilient as adults. It's such a blessing to see them turn into good people.

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  9. I'm very proud of the way my kids turned out, too. They had so little growing up. I know at the time they resented always having to go without when their friends had SO MUCH. But now they are all responsible adult and very frugal. They're also very independent, which I think is wonderful!

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    1. I think that learning that everything doesn't come without a cost is really good for our children. It means they know they have to earn their way in the world and then they have ownership of their success.

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  10. This made me a little teary, because my boys are just reaching that age where I'm noticing what fine young men they are becoming. It honestly is the most wonderful feeling to rejoice in their successes and send them out into the world to do good things. So hard to let go, but the alternative isn't ideal!

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    1. I think all mums want to hang on to their children (the Greek families that buy the house next door for their children are my idols!) but it is good when we let go and they don't sink - instead they turn out to be better swimmers than we gave them credit for :)

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  11. Leanne,
    This is a story I feel safe telling here, but I wouldn't publish on my blog. My late husband was the best father I knew, but it wasn't enough. As he said Christmas Day, almost five years ago, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but it fell off the wrong tree. My son has too much of his mother, and very little of me." The grown son is a controlling bully.

    Then he said, "I was here to do one job and that was to raise a good man. If I ever felt I'd failed, I would have failed as a human being." Four hours later, he went out for a run and died. He was all about God, country and family, and he died of a broken heart.
    XOXOX,
    Brenda

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    1. oh Brenda that is so sad and awful - I can feel your heart breaking as I read this. I still truly believe that there is always hope that the foundations are there and (maybe with the help of a good woman, or friend, or God) it's never too late to turn his life around and I hope you get to tell a different story in years to come and that your husband (looking down) will know his efforts weren't wasted. Hugs coming your way! xx

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  12. I know my kids are great and I have raised them right but I always like to hear from a boss or other family member what fine young men they are. That really makes me proud. Thank you for linking to #BlogShareLearn.

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    1. People used to comment on how lovely my son was as a teenager and I thought they were talking about some other boy (not the surly one who lived with us!) but they were right - he just hid his light under a bushel for a few years :)

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  13. I truly hope that my children turn out to be successful and greta members of our world. They are 11, 8 and 6 and so far are amazing children, I feel very blessed. It scares me when it comes to drugs and the thought of them being exposed or tempted by some of the terrible things in our world, I hope I am raising them with strong enough values and morals. Really greta post! Thanks for linking up with us #Fridayreflections

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    1. There are a lot more scary things out there now Mackenzie than when my kids were that age. I think parenting is even harder nowadays but with the right balance and boundaries I think great kids become great adults (fingers crossed!)

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  14. Oh wow, this couldn't have come at a more appropriate time for me. As I am in the midst of getting divorced, in large part because my husband and I could not agree on how to manage his mentally ill son, my children from a previous marriage have really stepped up to the plate and given me an incredible amount of support through this difficult time. They are 18 and 21, but have demonstrated love and understanding well beyond their years in the past few months. Despite the drama that sometimes seemed like it would never end when they were growing up in two different homes, I think their father and I somehow did good. Thanks for sharing this via #MidlifeBloggers

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  15. I'm so glad that your children are there for you at a time when you really need them Beth - it is so rewarding to see them behave in mature and considered ways - makes you breathe a happy sigh. Sorry to hear about the divorce though :(

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  16. My philosophy for being a mother was to encourage my children to fly and explore the world. Of course they will make wrong decisions which we want to protect them from. However, I am very proud of my children and the people they are. I can remember when my daughter was flying with her partner to spend a year in the U.K. This was 10 years ago and I was crying at the airport. She said 'Mum, you have always pushed us to fly and now that I am you are crying'. She has a wonderful career, is a great mother to my darling little Ethan and my son has a gorgeous partner. All in all life is great. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on motherhood and it is a great feeling to be proud of your children for who they are. Thanks for linking up with us at #AnythingGoes, Leanne and see you next week.

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    1. thanks Sue - I love hearing about other people letting their children go (and how it still tugs at the heart strings!) and to know that there are so many well grounded young adults out there making their own way in the world!

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  17. Congratulations you are our Friday Reflections Featured Writer with this amazing post!

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  18. Congratulations Leanne another of my two top picks for this week's #AnythingGoes! Your post really struck a chord and I'm sure looking at your comments with many others. Hope to see you at this week's #anythinggoes.

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