Parenting in Three Stages
Stage One: The Child Is Born
Here’s what a parent is: A parent is a person who has children. Here’s what’s involved in being a parent: you love your children, you hang out with them from utensil is the salad fork, you teach them to say please and thank you, you see that they have an occasional haircut, and you ask if they did their homework.
You understood that your child had a personality. His very own personality. He was born with it. For a certain period, this child would live with you and your personality, and you would do your best to survive each other.
This was a somewhat mystifying concept when you first had a baby. Exactly what was it about the baby that would never change? After all, it’s incredibly difficult to tell what a baby’s exact personality is when it’s merely a baby. But eventually, the baby in question began to manifest its personality, and sure enough, remarkably enough, that personality never changed.
All sorts of additional personnel were required to achieve the transformational effect that was the goal of parenting—baby whisperers, sleep counsellors, shrinks, learning therapists, family therapists, speech therapists, tutors—and, if necessary, behaviour-altering medication, which, coincidentally or uncoincidentally, was invented at almost the exact moment that parenting came into being.
(The willingness on the part of both parents to be present at any place at any time had the interesting a side effect of causing schools to rely on parents to oversee all sorts of , events that used to be supervised by trained professionals.)
Parenting meant that whether or not your children understood you, your obligation was to understand them; understanding was the key to everything. If your children believed you understood them, or a least tried to understand them, they wouldn’t hate you when they become adolescents; what’s more, they would grow up to be happy, well-adjected adults who would never have to squander their money (or, far more likely, yours) on psychoanalysis or whatever, fashion in self-improvement had come along to take its place.
Parenting used entirely different language from just plain parenthood, language you would never write in big capital letters in order to make clear that it had been uttered impulsively or in anger.
Stage Two: The Child Is an Adolescent
Adolescence comes as a gigantic shock to the modern parent, in large part because it seems so much like the adolescence you yourself went through. Your adolescent is sullen. Your adolescent is angry. Your adolescent is mean. In fact, your adolescent is mean to you.
Your adolescent has changed, but not in any of the ways you’d hoped for when you set about to mould your child. Any you have changed too. You have changed from a moderately neurotic, fairly cheerful human being to an irritable, crabby, abused wreck.
But not to worry. There’s somewhere you can go for help. You can go to all the therapists and counsellors you consulted in the years before your children became adolescents, the therapists and counsellors in the years before your children became adolescents, the therapists and counsellors who’ve put their own children through college and probably law school thanks to your ongoing reliance on them.
Here’s what they will say:
· Adolescence is for adolescents, not for parents.
· It was invented to help attached—or over-attached—children to separate, in preparation for the inevitable moment when they leave the nest.
· There are things you can do to make life easier for yourself.
This advice will cost you hundreds—or thousands—of dollars, depending on whether you live in a major metropolitan area or a minor one. And it’s completely untrue:
· Adolescence is for parents, not adolescents.
· It was invented to help attached—or over-attached—parents to separate, in preparation for the inevitable moment when their children leaven the nest.
· There is almost nothing you can do to make life easier for yourself except wait until it’s over.
Stage Three: The Child Is Gone
The anxiety. The apprehension. What will life be like? Will the two of you have anything to talk about once your children are gone? Will you have sex now that the presence of your children is no longer an excuse for not having sex?
The day finally comes. You child goes off to college. You wait for the melancholy. But before it strikes—before it even has time to strike—a shocking thing happens: your child comes right back. These vacations aren’t called “vacations,” they’re called “breaks” and “reading periods.”
If you find yourself nostalgic for the ongoing, day-to-day activities required of the modern parent, there’s a solution: Get a dog. I don’t recommend it, because dogs require tremendous commitment, but they definitely give you something to do. Plus they’re very loveable and, more important, uncritical. And they can be trained.
They survived you. You survived them. It crosses your mind that on some level, you spent hours and days and months and years without laying a glove on them, but don’t dwell. There’s no point. It’s over.
Except for the worrying.
The worrying is forever.
This Article is Taken From I Feel Bad About My Neck
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Written By Arshad. A