How Do You Know If You're Parenting Well?

How do you know if you're parenting well? Who do we want our adult children to become?

How Do We Know If We're Parenting Well?

We all see that social media highlight reel of the perfect family every time we look at Instagram or Facebook - and ours never seems to measure up. Does that mean we aren't doing well at this whole parenting gig? Not at all - I think there's so much more to successful parenting than a pretty picture or two. Ultimately it comes back to each individual family unit as to how you measure whether you feel like you're doing a good job.

Some families are intertwined and even when the children are grown, they still spend a lot of time together - their version of successful parenting is about interconnection and the extended family group. Other families are more independent and launch their children into the world with the knowledge that they won't see anywhere near as much of them as they used to. Their version of successful parenting is more pragmatic, but just as valid in its own right. Completely different approaches, but as long as healthy, happy, well-adjusted adult children are the result - then we've done well haven't we?

Is Parenthood How You Imagined It?

I guess my answer would be "yes" and "no"....... "yes" because I am extremely proud of how our children have turned out and how independent and self-sufficient they are. The "no" part is the little bit of my Mother Heart that wants to hold on long after my children have grown and flown, where I still want to be a major part of their lives. My idea of successful parenting is allowing them to detach and be independent adults creating family units of their own; and most of the time I manage to do it quite well - but there's just a little twinge now and then when I want my little children back under my wing.

Most of us have no idea how things will end up when we start our journey into parenting - all we hope for is that our kids grow up to be really good human beings - parenthood may not be exactly how we envisaged it to be back when we first held that little bundle in our arms, but we've often done much better than we give ourselves credit for. Being a steady, authentic, reliable, relatable role model is the key to producing healthy adult children for most of us.

You know you’re a success when you look at your kids and realize they turned out better than you. Joe Biden #parentingquote

What Parenting Criteria Should We Be Using?

It can be difficult to measure if you did a good job of parenting your children at times. Some parents struggle with putting in their best efforts, only to find that their adult children turn their back on it all and make some truly awful decisions. It's so hard to be the parent of a child who makes wrong choices over and over again. I know of people who have adult "children" with many different problems and those whose children got mixed up with the wrong peer group at the wrong time and headed off down the wrong track, turning their backs on all their parents' hopes for them. Unfortunately there are no absolute guarantees in the parenting world.

At the same time, for every child who becomes an adult like that, there are many more who become wonderful adults with successful careers, strong and loving family units of their own, interesting lives, and who have far surpassed anything their parents may have tentatively wanted for them. It seems risky to hope or expect too much - we don't want to put too much pressure on them, but when they go on to achieve their dreams it's such a heartwarming experience to share in.

Raising Well Balanced Offspring

There is such a sense of satisfaction in seeing our children launch themselves into the world and find their own way to a good life. It's rewarding watching our children excel in their education and in their careers. They often progress further and faster than we did at their age and it's a testimony to their diligence and commitment to study and a strong work ethic that gets them there. (I'd like to think that their parents had a little bit of input too!)

But it's not just how well they've done in the material world, it's also about the type of people they are becoming. As a parent I think we are even more pleased when we see them mature and make good decisions and become really good human beings. It's nice to see them contributing to the world, investing in other people and in the generation behind them too. Creating kind and compassionate human beings is definitely a sign of successful parenting.

Happiness is when you realize that your kids have turned out to be good people. #parentingquote

How Are You Doing?

Are your children heading down the path you'd hoped they would? Have they chosen good friends? Are you being a strong role model? Are you allowing them to be individuals in their own right? There's so many influences on our kids these days - let's do our best to steer them towards positive examples and encourage them to be the best they're capable of becoming.

Wisdom and Warmth - a blog for those looking for ways to live life in full bloom.

Does parenting look like you expected? How do you know if you're parenting well? Who do we want our adult children to become?