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We learn through raising our children

As many parents may say, children have no idea of the joys and pains that a parent goes through in raising them until they have children of their own.

As many parents may say, children have no idea of the joys and pains that a parent goes through in raising them until they have children of their own.

Who can ever prepare for this type of journey?

I relate parenting to a roller-coaster because many of the same emotions take place.

Some people steer clear of parenting, others are excited and want to try it.

Others are pushed into by peer pressure.

And still others are prepared for the exhilarating ride. The decision has been made to get on this roller-coaster for the first time.

You may be excited to start but a little anxious and scared because you have no idea of what you’re getting yourself into, although many of us think we do.

There are moments of anticipation, excitement, joy, fear and even regrets.

Asking ourselves, “Will I make it through this ride?” Though, this ride never really ends once we step into parenthood.

I discovered that being a parent magnifies what we do well and what we do poorly.

It has a way of constantly teaching us something about ourselves as well as others.

After my experience of raising three children and working many years with new families, I see the obvious, yet sometimes am more confused than ever.

It is such a mystery to master parenting. We face these parenting stages with some being wonderful, with moments you never want to forget, and other stages that are painful, scary and full of worry and even hurt.

I usually felt very content about raising my children and other times I felt overwhelmed — wondering what I was doing, usually during those times of discouragement, fear and frustration.

Yet, I have really been so blessed as a child, wife and mother and asked myself at times why I sometimes felt so frustrated and alone. I may blame my husband for not being a certain way or my kids for not always living up to my expectations.

It is always easier to blame and feel sorry for ourselves when going through negative emotions, but I then realized that I needed to recognize and figure out what it is in me that caused me to feel this way, what are my needs that are not being met or have not been addressed.

This is important for parents to do for themselves when raising children. It is often about us and not about them.

I often ask myself, “Have I done the best that I can in raising my children?” It is easy to always think of things that we could have done better or differently and focus on regrets and the “should haves.”

Most parents try to do the best they can with what they have. I have met and worked with many new parents, and not one said, “I want to be a bad parent.”

That is never the intention. But I have always shared with them that it is very easy to be a bad parent and it takes very hard work at first to be a good parent, but it pays off in the end.

There is a responsibility for giving our children the best chance of a healthy life with what we do for them while they are in our care, which has an effect on who they become as adults.

Yes, there are circumstances out of our control that effect our children and we deal with that the best way that we can.

But knowing you have given them a good start or made healthy changes makes it easier to handle the challenges that come along.

Every parent will make mistakes, but it’s important to learn from them. Knowledge is power and following through with what we learn gives our children a strong foundation and healthy start in life. And, we learn from our children!

I believe it is never too late to improve parenting and relationships with children.

As I said at the beginning, the roller-coaster does not end once we step into parenthood. Parenting is for life. The joys, thrills and worries go on, and the learning continues. From my experience, I would not change it for the world.