Parent or Partner?

December 02, 2019

Sometimes I wonder when the first government decides that before we’re allowed to become a parent, we need to take the ‘School for Parents’. That only after successfully completing that program, having babies is legal. Of course it’s totally absurd and from time to time as a parent I really could have done with it…..


For a wide selection of skills I have certi cates and diplomas. Some were very useful, like Sunday school or swimming class, others were less useful, like math.
At Sunday school I learned stories and songs I could share when it was bedtime. Because I learned how to swim, we could go to Centerparcs or the Mediterranean where we had lots of fun!


But by the time the kids had math at school, I forgot all about it and the small bits I did remember, that’s where they changed the way they do it. So totally useless!!
On top of that, by then I’ve been told ‘leave me alone’ a million times so even if I would have been a professor in math, it would have made no difference.


I don’t know what it is they teach kids, somewhere during primary school, latest secondary school, they pick up something that fundamentally transforms your role as a parent. And this comes with little to no warning! Just like that they think they’ve grown bigger than their parents… And even if you would be warned, you wouldn’t get it.


Looking back at it, the few warnings I got, came ‘camou aged’ in thestories of friends complaining about their kids. They had become teenagers, a.k.a. temporary aliens.
What do you do?!? You let them vent, or cry, put an arm around them, tell them it’ll pass. Well, pass it will for sure, the question is do we get what ‘it’ is?


The focus is on how to survive that new, really challenging behaviour of your teenager. Much less about what needs to shift in our behaviour in order to adjust to the upgraded demands of parenting. How wonderful it would have been to be a graduate from the ‘School for Parents’! If only there would have been an outline how children’s behaviour would evolve and giving us tools and tips how to adjust accordingly. How to play with the different shades of parenting. How to respond to all the stuff you’ll be confronted with. One thing is guaranteed, the demands will evolve from caregiver and caretaker to helpdesk, safety-net and problem solver. You will have to deal with broken hearts, drugs, failed exams, alcohol, speeding tickets, lost jobs, getting arrested, etc. etc. Maybe not all of it but you’ll get your share….


And at some point, they’ll grow up. They’ll find their own way. Did weas parents grow up with them without losing them on the way…? Did we learn and dare to let go and hold on at the same time.
The path from parent to partner is as ful lling as it is very demanding,especially for single parents, most often single moms.


That school doesn’t exist yet the world is full of teachers. All those whowalked the path from parent to partner are quali ed either by sharing their aws or by sharing their successes.


How are you doing with letting go without letting down whilst walking the path from parent to partner?


Journaling “From parent to partner”:


  • What does it take from me to grow up with my children?
  • What is my longing for the relationship with my children?
  • What does it mean to me, to be a partner for my children?

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