​​​​​​​Parenting: It Isn’t Easy but It’s Worth It

Parenting: It Isn’t Easy but It’s Worth It

~ Dr. Veronica L. Hardy

Margaret met Saturday morning with the usual routine – chores. Her husband was outside mowing the lawn before the temperature got too hot.  The neighbors were leaning over each others’ fences engaging in some early morning conversation.  The garbage bag that was awaiting trash pick-up was once again torn open by the local alley cats in search of food. The neighbor’s toddler son, R.C., rolled his ball into the street and called for his father to save it. Margaret’s youngest daughter was lying in bed watching the Saturday morning shows. Her eldest daughter, Jessica, was still sleeping presumably recovering from an intense discussion the night before.


As Margaret gently dusted the picture frames that captured memories of her daughters, she could not help but to reflect on the previous evening. Her eyes turned to glass as they were filled with tears. She always imagined the day when her daughter would be the princess bride, “then” the glowing mother.  She desired for all her daughter’s dreams to come true. Yet, Margaret has realized that dreams are not always the guide for life, sometimes it is shock and circumstance. Jessica returned home last night just before curfew.  She stepped into the room where her parents were chuckling about a Friday night comedy. As Jessica sat on the arm of the loveseat, she seemed anxious and saddened. Her eyes met the floor as she hesitated to connect with her parents. Margaret initiated the discussion as a mother’s heart often does, “Jessica … what’s wrong?” As her parents waited in what seemed like a lifetime of worry and concern, Jessica slowly collected her words in a childlike whisper, “I’m pregnant.”


As Margaret continued to reflect and gently dust the picture frames, she questioned “What happened to the days of the Cabbage Patch Dolls? When did teenage girls stop jumping double-dutch, playing hopscotch, and enjoying pick-up stix in the high school parking lot? What ever happened to pigtails, reading story books, and singing in the mirror? Where did my baby girl go?”


Raising children today has been challenging for sincere parents. The battle has increased between a parent providing safe structure for children and society providing temptations such as drugs, sex, and name-brand clothes. This battle often causes struggle and enduring gaps in the parent-child relationship. At times, parents may feel the more they try to connect, the more their child is being stolen away. As parents seek to develop a stronger relationship with their children, the following thoughts may help to bridge the gap.


1. Involve Yourself


Be conscious of your child’s interests and peer relationships.  Be aware of what kids view as “social activities” and find ways to increase your knowledge in these areas.


2. Check-In


Remember, kids have several stressors as many expectations are placed upon them by parents, teachers, friends, and employers. Responding to the demands of various people can be challenging for an individual who is just learning to navigate the world. Therefore, it is important to seek to understand your child’s experience and avoid the assumption that kids have no worries.


3. Initiate Communication


By initiating communication, you are sending the message that you are a safe place for your child to share concerns. Furthermore, you are letting your child know that you have an interest in helping with difficulties.  Keep in mind, while you are engaging in discussion, it is very important to listen to your child’s words and emotions. Avoid responding out of frustration or anger as this may widen the gap in communication, but listen and share your thoughts with a caring heart.

Be encouraged that the strength of the parent-child bond can be redeemed. None of this is easy and every family is different but continue to take steps toward moving forward in a positive direction.

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20 Nov 2018

By Dr. Veronica Hardy