Views From The Parenting Precipice


Precipice, huh?

Yup, that’s right.

This way or that way?

Right or wrong, left or right, backwards or forwards.

Each way has it’s pros and cons, but the net of none stand out.

Isn’t that the way of parenting?

You have choices to be made in the moment; split second, often. Rarely are the choices easy or obvious options and yet if you make the wrong one, all things dire and consequential occur.

Who else has to make these kinds of decisions?

Emergency room doctors, firefighters, car drivers on the point of impact?

Yet we do it, day in day out, over and over.

A few of us have easy children; some of us have very difficult ones.

And we all have a view on what should be done and when.

Isn’t that the most pointless hobby of all; having a view on other peoples’ parenting? Why do we waste so much time on it?

I know it makes me feel so good when I see other people having a tough time with their kids. My child doesn’t seem so dastardly, I don’t feel so useless, my life seems more normal.

Seeing other people trying to deal in those situations can give me a glow for quite a couple of hours.

All those books we read. Looking for the answer.

From experts who provide guesswork much of the time.

Why guesswork? Because we have never lived a parenting life like this one.

This is the first generation where couples are expected to be partners in parenting. This is the first generation to deal with the Internet and social media. This is the first generation to deal with the levels of chemical ingestion that we do today and all the resultant behavioral issues.

Parenting advice is mostly guesswork supported by tiny amounts of research.

So what do we do?

We can’t look to others for advice and guidance. We can’t refer back to our childhoods for role models.

We have a problem, *right now* and we have to deal.

And that’s why we parent from the precipice. Will we make it back up or fall?

As I say in our house, “we deal with death every day.”

Do you think we have it tough today or easier than our parents? Let me know in the comments!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Teadrinkingmom December 10, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Thought provoking post Alison. I agree that our generation of parents have quite different attitudes about the whole thing – we obsess all the time about if we’re doing the right thing and whether our “parenting skills” are good enough – a term that didn’t even. I think this does make things tougher for us in the short-term, and may at times mean that we overly analyse and screw things up. But overall I think its a good thing people have become more thinking and critical about the way we parent – in the long term it should pay off as hopefully we will create a more balanced, self-assured generation of young people.
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Alison Golden December 10, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Welcome back, Teadrinkingmom!

I agree that the analysis we undertake (endlessly) will hopefully produce a stronger generation of young people in the bigger picture.

I also notice that the divide between those that are self-assured and those who are not is becoming deeper and wider which is concerning as we see rises in suicides, drug use and problematic cyber-behavior. Fingers crossed that we are simply repeating the age-old parenting cry ‘Teenagers, these days!’


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