2020 Parenting Lessons
Yikes, what a train wreck of a year! Nothing happened like it was supposed to. But although 2020 was full of resiliency and adversity, it was also full of life lessons (if you allow yourself to listen). Here is what 2020 taught me.
My oldest son is 18. A senior year in high school, this poor kid had a year full of disappointment: no prom, no sports, no social outings, no homecoming parade. The list of “not this year” items that teenagers live for is endless. Instead of looking at the situation with frustration, 2020 taught me to value this time with my oldest child because he will be gone in a year. Thank you, 2020, for giving me my son this year. I had more time and opportunities to talk with him this year than I ever would have done on my own under normal circumstances. I could be there for him as a listening ear and empathizer when he needed to vent. The result was a new bond with my son that I may not ever have had the opportunity to have. Already, tears are welling up in my eyes, thinking about this child moving out and away next year! 2020 may have taught me to be grateful for this oldest child, but 2021 will have to teach me to let go. His plan is out-of-state college.
My next oldest is 16! This child taught me to reach out and talk to your teenager, even if you feel like a nagging mom. This is my child that likes to lock themselves up in their room, watch YouTube videos all day and wear headphones all day long to “tune out” all the “noise” of life. This child taught me to keep nudging your teen and NEVER underestimate the power of Short, Honest, Check-Ins. 2020 had this teen withdraw, and I was challenged to consistently try to reach out to my child and show my concerns. I know that teens can make you feel like you are bugging them, but you must not give up on your efforts to show respect and love. For this child, one-on-one time is the only way to bond with him. I had to make special efforts to do this consistently throughout the year, even if the only time I had was a 15-minute car ride. My perseverance and consistency paid off over time. As I close the 2020 year, I see that quality time is much more important than the quantity of time you spend with your child.
My next middle child is 10! This child taught me the importance of meeting your child where they are at emotionally. 2020 was a rollercoaster of emotions, and sometimes kids just need you to meet them where they are to see them grow. I used to approach bad situations with optimism and try to make my children feel better by convincing them to look at the bright side or count their blessings. In 2020 I changed this parenting tactic. I learned that sometimes kids do not want to hear the “good side.” Instead, they need someone to feel the “shit” with them. It is the act of sitting together in the sadness, anger, and frustration that can give a child hope. This empathy technique says, ‘You’re not alone. I understand. And I will go through it with you so you can lean on me for support when you are ready.” Instead of making my child change the way he feels, he changed because I allowed him to handle it.
My youngest child is 8. Over quarantine, this child painted rocks with words of encouragement and placed her unique stones all over our local park so that people could find them. Sometimes we can find inspiration in the innocents of children. She was concerned about others as the days of 2020 got longer and longer. She can observe society’s big grey cloud overhead. This child felt a need to help. Although there was little she could do, she did what she could. Sometimes, provoking a stranger’s smile can ignite a spark of happiness that will pass along like falling dominos. This child knows that and sparked her hope and joy all over our neighborhood with those happy rocks. My daughter taught me not to ignore small acts of kindness, and 2020 taught me that small acts of kindness can get you through a rough year.
2020 was a challenge for me, but one of the most profound lessons I learned is also the one that most parents ignore. What is the most overlooked yet valuable resource a parent can have? Friends. Good parent friends can make your parenting journey easier or harder, like night and day. Friends can be the difference between sanity and insanity. Parenting friends are priceless. I could not see many of my supportive friends this year because of COVID, but I did keep in touch with 2. It is because of these 2 ladies that I made it through the turbulence of 2020. Those friends that allow you to vent and cry. Those friends that show up for you when you cannot show up for yourself. Friends, you can ask parenting questions and do not feel embarrassed or judged. Parents need other parents. We need support. Finding friendships is the secret sauce to being a better parent. It is a part of self-care and something we need to do for ourselves to keep our sanity. 2020 taught me the real value of friends and that investing in friendships is worth every-minute like GOLD.
2020 was not easy, but I would be lying if I said it was all bad. There was a lot to learn in 2020 if you were willing to hear. I could not be more grateful for my lessons. Perhaps I was not the most impactful parent, like in years past. I let the kids sleep in my bedroom too often. We all watched too much TV and played too many videogames. All the together-ness of quarantine was rough at times. There were moments we wanted to kill each other! I also have never had a year full of so many hugs and special talks with my teens. I also never had so many memorable moments on the couch. In the end, 2020 reminded me that moms and dads do not need gifts, vacations, or elaborate plans to bond with their children. Each day presents itself with opportunities TO BE with your child, and what matters most is that you show up without your phone or distractions.
I hope this video blog brought value to you, and if it did, please press the like button and share this recording with a friend. With my lessons of 2020 in mind, I have decided to start 2020 by helping other parents find their parenting friends. I will be offering a special mom’s group in the new year where moms will come together to make friendships and grow in their parenting journey. If you are interested in learning more about this excellent opportunity to meet other women and explore small group coaching with me, show your interest by going to the link: https://theimpactfulparent.com/supportsqad, where you can sign up to be the first to know details of the program. Space will be limited because bonding happens in small groups, so get on the waitlist now, and there is no commitment to buy. Again visit, https://theiimpactfulparent.com/supportsquad
Invest in your friendships in 2021. Listen to the lessons the universe is teaching. Become a more Impactful Parent.
For MORE Impactful Parent content check out the podcast at https://theimpactfulparent,com/parenting-podcast
Or join the private Facebook Group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/theimpactfulparent