As a parent of a 10-year-old girl I worry about my daughter’s future almost every day and night. You might say I am a little neurotic. One of the scariest things in the world, to me, is raising a child. I’m always afraid I’m doing something wrong, and that I will “screw up” my daughter’s future.
As a child, I grew up in a very authoritative, old-fashioned, respectable, and sheltered family. I always felt as if I could never do anything good enough and always felt afraid of the world. I was told in one ear that I could do anything, but was questioned and frighten out of my choice. As a child, I was afraid of the world, bullied a lot, and barely had any friends. I had absolutely no ambition in life, other than to become a mom. Today I am almost done a Bachelors Degree in Art Education.
My husband grew up with a father in prison for most of his life and a working mother who was hardly home. I would believe that he grew up in a neglectful, kind of authoritarian parenting style. But the authoritarian would have came from parents of his friends, and not his actual parents. As he grew up, he went through a lot of hard times before me; there was a lot of trust issues, and abandonment issues, drugs and alcohol. It wasn’t until he left the area, and moved to South Jersey that he seemed to get his act together and have more ambition in life. He currently has a Masters Degree in School Counseling and is a Guidance Counselor in a local High School.
As new parents, we were both petrified. We did not want to make the same mistakes our parents did. As we grew together as a family, my husband and I believed strongly in communication skills. Something neither one of us grew up with. And so, as my daughter grew, we did everything the exact opposite of how we were both raised.
When my daughter was first born we took her to daycare so she could meet children her own age. She would be able to socialize with her peers, and in time this would allow us to meet new people and socialize as well. We believed in an authoritative parenting style. But, we both believed that it is “her life” and that we are simply there to supervise the choices that she makes a she grows up. We explain both sides, the good and the bad, and let her make her choice. A solid support system at home allows a child or adolescent to grow up satisfied with his/her own achievements and ambitions.
But trying to raise a child in today’s society seems to be harder than ever. We try to discuss everything; school, life, boys, future… anything. It is our job as parents to allow our child to feel comfortable disclosing anything, hopefully alleviating problems as she gets older.
As parents we strongly agree that education happens before she even sets foot in a school is crucial in bringing up a well rounded child. Taking her to concerts, Broadway shows, vacations to other countries, and plenty of road trips. Every aspect of life is a new learning experience. If you want to enhance your child’s learning abilities to eventually boost her academic performance, it will take consistency, dedication, and patience.
I believe it is normal for young people to think for themselves and question aspects of their lives and of family relationships. As an adolescent, my daughter is moving towards becoming independent physically, emotionally, and cognitively, but she is still growing.
In my college education classes, I have learned greatly from Howard Gardner; that children have multiple intelligences. This I believe strongly. There are different pathways to learning, which everyone possesses. My daughter thinks very logical, analytical, and musically. And with both parents in the education field, we realize that our daughter possesses these multiple strengths along with creative and practical abilities. It is our duties as parents, to teach my child that what she does not learn from education in school, she receives at home, in our parenting style.
In conclusion, I believe that all adolescents, and my daughter, are resilient. That all adolescents are creative, energetic, and challenging at times, but with good parenting skills we can help them navigate the precarious passageway from adolescence to adulthood.