From being abandoned and raised by a grandmother, who in turn never knew her father I inherited a mixed bag of parenting skills.
What parent doesn’t try to do improve on their childhood? For me that’s led to a number of unfinished Airfix kits, and perhaps two of my kids being unhappy at school. It now seems obvious that trying to better one’s own legacy risks missing what’s required thirty years later, risks missing the wood for the trees.
In lieu of experience, I wouldn’t recommend fathering from fantasy and a handful of sad or rose tinted memories. Yet, we are where we are, playing the hand we’re dealt. But that’s not to try and keep things moving on. I like to remind myself of the saying “If you do as you’ve always done, don’t be surprised if you get what you’ve always got.”
Getting older involves trading many things, like working knees, for perspective and insight; on balance, it’s maybe not a bad trade, but the irony of watching the same patterns reoccurring is tough.
I’ve come to think parenting should change as children grow from the explicit to the implicit, and in teenage years happen by stealth and example more than lecturing and behaviourism. Here’s an interesting article from the BBC.
Namaste and on this day thanks to mothers too – without whom…