by Diana Clark
A colleague whispered to me the other day: “If I knew then what I know now, I don’t think I would have had children. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children more than anything, but it’s so damn hard.”
Welcome to modern-day parenthood – a lonely, confusing, and possibly heartbreaking journey hopefully punctuated by joy and marvel. No longer are we parents possessed of certainty of direction. Thus our days are filled with anxiety about the right thing to do, negotiations with our children and partners, and worse, self-recrimination over our approach.
Perhaps it’s time to revisit expectations. When my son was born 21 years ago, a wise older friend said: “You have two jobs as a parent.” Eager for information and steady ground, I excitedly asked: What? Tell me!”
She replied: “to love him just because he breathes- just for who he is- and -make sure he can function without you.” Simple recipe, complicated in practice. Part one- check. We, parents, do a much better job of appreciating our children’s gifts in ways that were not typical in generations past. In the second part of the recipe, we are faltering. If it were a cake recipe, we would have difficulty rising.
There are ingredients that can promote gentle progress: validating responses, assigned chores, natural consequences, and, as counterintuitive as it sounds, doing less and laughing more.
Parenting Retreat at Canyon Ranch
Please join us at Canyon Ranch Lenox in the historical Berkshires for this 5-night Immersion retreat with parenting expert Diana Clark, JD, MA., Chief of Clinical Operations of O’Connor Professional Group. This parenting-focused retreat will help you gain personalized insights and practical skills to start creating new habits for a well family. To learn more about Canyon Ranch Immersion™, visit https://www.canyonranch.com/stay/events/lenox-parenting-immersion-retreat-march-2023/ or call (844) 772-8435.