Parenting and Commitment

I used to teach a parenting class in our local jail. Once in a while I used a video series that I found really insightful. One of the ideas I really liked was that it called parent to change their attitude toward parenting in general. It suggested that parents quit griping and accept their role and make a decision to give it their all.

In  my years of teaching parents, I observed a wide variety of attitudes. Some parents clearly loved their role and these would really get into the parent discussions with enthusiasm. They brought their problems to the table and were excited about the ideas shared by others. They knew that if they were having difficulties with a child, something had to change in the way they were handling things or they needed new information to understand the situation.

There were other parents, however, who saw parenting as an imposition. Their children were somewhat of an interruption in what they perceived to be their real life. They loved their children, but they weren’t as engaged in the role of parenting. They didn’t see the importance in putting effort into understanding things like child development. Typically, when these parents had problems with their children, they saw it as the child’s problem. If their child would just act differently or change their perspective, everything would be allright. I was glad to have these in the class because these parents were not apt to seek out information on their own.

One difference between the two types of parents I described above is commitment. It is not unlike any other endeavor we take on in our lives. If a person is committed to a craft, they will put their consciousness and time and resources into becoming the best  practitioner as possible. Parenting is both a science and an art. As a science, it requires study, discipline, effort and control. And as an art requires letting go and serendipity.