The Only Way To Learn How To Be A Parent

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I love this piece on Huffington Post by writer Wendy Fontaine:

“Over the weekend, I stumbled upon an online conversation about whether boys are underperforming in school because single mothers are unequipped to raise them.

As a single mother myself, I am intrigued by anything that pins a certain problem to a parent’s marital status, and this discussion was no different.

The discourse first appeared on a blog that belongs to Annie Murphy Paul, a columnist and learning consultant who reported on a University of Georgia and Columbia University study that says girls get better grades than boys because they show more ‘non-cognitive skills’ like attentiveness, organization and persistence.

Her report triggered a lot of reactions, including a comment from a reader who identified himself only as ‘Coach.’ Coach said that the real problem is too many single women are raising boys.

‘Boys learn through physical contact and real-life scenarios,’ he wrote. ‘Women are not equipped to cope with them on their own.’

Here’s a news flash: Nobody is equipped to raise sons. Or daughters, for that matter. Whether married or single, we all become parents wholly and thoroughly unequipped. As our babies grow, we embark on a never-ending crusade of matching questions with answers, of seeing the problems and setting out to find the solutions.

In other words, it’s not about being equipped. It’s about getting equipped.”

How true that is. You learn how to parent only by becoming a parent, and the learning is never-ending.

Readers, what do you know now about parenting that you didn’t know when your children were born? I didn’t know about the challenge of finding a balance between what you try to impress on your kids (this is how we behave, this is how we talk) and what you stand back and let grow (their own interests, their own personalities).

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3 Responses to “The Only Way To Learn How To Be A Parent”

  1. Josie Glausiusz says:

    I have two-year-old twins. I feel as if I know quite a bit about raising twins until the age of two, and not a lot beyond that. They are constantly changing and learning new things, and I am learning along with them. I’ve discovered a constant need to be flexible, to try different things, to grow my own brain along with theirs – not always easy, since they are busy sprouting new neurons all the time, and I am not. Or maybe I am – who knows?

  2. Whether it takes a village to raise a child, I’m not sure. But it takes an extended family. As a single parent for several years, I did not have extended family in proximity. It’s difficult. I had two sons. Lots of soccer practice, scouting, hands-on activities. Boys do need more activity. Well-rounded teaching is mandatory. PBL and Kagan activities.

  3. Until I was a parent…
    ~I never had a mirror so honest, reflecting all of my good and not so good traits
    ~I had no idea how much free time I really had
    ~How little sleep I truly need to function
    ~How beautiful the early morning or late night silence is
    ~How much those little brains can absorb
    ~Even after all the schooling, how much more there is to learn
    ~What true love is

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