At times, being a parent can be such a stressful, agonizing job, that we lose all perspective as to what we want to accomplish. What are the goals of childrearing?
For one goal we want to create competent adults out of our children. By competent I mean adults who can master or cope with the adversities they encounter: loss of relationships, jobs, financial and health setbacks. We want our children not to be overly debilitated by such hardships but to have the ability to develop strategies for life’s road blocks. We want then to be resilient and innovative.
Second, we want our children to be well-balanced in who they are and how they negotiate the world. We don’t want perpetual wallflowers and we don’t want aggressive or violent youth. We want children who can be assertive and who can ask for their needs to be met at the right time and in the appropriate circumstance, such as requesting a reasonable salary in a job interview or telling a spouse their opinion and needs when the spouse is disinclined to listen. We want children who can laugh, be sociable and find pleasure in their lives and not be hostages to anxieties, depressions, and loneliness.
Also, we want our children to quell always being the center of attention and give air time to someone else when it is called for. Balance and good judgment within each child are good to strive for so that our children are not all one way or another in their relationships – not always obsequious and not always demanding.
Third, we should enjoy our children. Mostly we love them so why not spend time with them – talking about how they see the world, listening to their developing views of themselves and their lives, sharing an activity or trip together that is new or old, sharing with them stories of our growing up so they know who we parents are as people. Children delight in hearing what we parents did and thought when we were children.