The secret to parenting is perseverance.
I often hear from parents who despair of being able to teach and train their children.
"It's too much!"
"They are driving me crazy!"
"I can't do it - I'm sending them to school!"
I'd like to offer some warm and fuzzy comfort, but that is not what you need.
You need endurance. Basically, you need to be able to outlast your kids. Our perseverance is often stretched to the limit, especially when a child exhibits the ability to tug on your skirt/jeans saying “Mommy” for 15 consecutive minutes without taking a breath. But at some point you have to be The Adult, create the boundaries, and teach your kids how to behave like an intelligent carbon-based life form.
Forgive the comparison, but children are basically sociopaths - they are instinctively manipulative, can boldly misbehave without feeling guilt or remorse, have poor impulse control, and crave immediate gratification. Unless, that is, someone like a parent intervenes and guides them to healthy behaviors and attitudes, like compassion, generosity, and honesty.
When children are young, they are learning by your example and instruction, in essence 'borrowing' your frontal lobe in order to mature.
Don't worry - they'll give it back, eventually.
The problem is, we must possess wholesome characteristics for our children to be able to borrow them from us.
Our society doesn’t seem to reward a strong sense of morality and ethics. We hear praise (and excuses) for the hypocrisy, dysfunction, and depravity of authority figures and celebrities. Seldom are examples of conscience, courage, and kindness celebrated and honored to the same degree. This leaves children receiving the wrong message.
So fellow parent - we have our work cut out for us. We have to cultivate a thick skin and unwavering determination to teach our kids how to love unreservedly, give unselfishly, and act with integrity. Other than hiring Mary Poppins to come and parent your children for you, you have no choice but to dig in for the long haul.
It may be a long haul, but it's more than duty that compels us to persevere. It is love that drives a parent to forsake all they feel and desire for themselves in order to give their child the tools they need to become a happy, healthy adult.
You can do it, dear parents. Perseverance is a powerful thing and fortunately, it's contagious.