Here’s the deal when it comes to parenting: There are no perfect parents.

Since we aren’t perfect people, there is no way perfection graces us just because we’re in charge of youngsters.

Take this one step further: There are no perfect children.

Some years ago, at the close of a parenting workshop I conducted, a participant told me, “I see that I haven’t been a very good parent.” She was the mother of two teenage sons.

“What?” I exclaimed.

We’d heard a lot about her sons during workshop discussion and they seemed to be quite on the mark.

“I haven’t been strict enough. I haven’t been consistent. I haven’t followed through on a lot of things and I never realized what a bad mom I was being.”

One son is off to college this year. He’s on scholarship. Every summer of his high school years he found a job, and during elementary and junior high years he created his own business. He bought a lawn mower with a loan from his parents and went throughout his neighborhood soliciting clients.

Cutting lawns, he earned enough to pay off his loan, save, buy more expensive athletic shoes than his parents were willing to purchase, and whatever else his earnings could accommodate.

Second son? He inherited the brother’s business when Bro moved off to the East Coast college. Good grades. No rowdy parties on the weekend. Friends whose parents have made it a point to know their kid’s friends’ parents.

Okay, both boys are known for keeping messy rooms. And like every other teenager they can be downright unpleasant..

They’ve got smart mouths, and parental threats haven’t quite curbed that malady.

But when all is said and done, as two of my daughters used to whine, “What do you want? We’re not on drugs and we’re not pregnant.”

Parent Workshops, or as my non-profit, Talk About Parenting with Shirlee Smith calls them, Parent Development Sessions, are questionable when participants can’t believe in themselves.

My mother didn’t need any professional training. Somehow, without it, she raised four kids who have found their places in society. My mother would have laughed all the way to the police station had she been arrested for spanking us.

I asked the workshop participant if her boys were on drugs or if they had gotten any girls pregnant.

Since my conversation with her, we make sure our Parent Development Sessions are light, fun, and only a blueprint for a style of parenting that can be incorporated into the personalities of the individual’s household.

Check our website for our list of Parent Development Sessions use the form to set up your session: http://talkaboutparenting.org/workshops/

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. -Nate

    Pretty good thinking Shirlee .

    As a Single Dad I too have constant worries about how I raised my Son even though he was a good student and no drugs etc….

    If you care and remain engaged and involved , they’ll know and try to do better their own selves .

    Some , simply cannot be reached , we had this last night , one of our teenage foster boys has a serious motormouth problem and doesn’t listen , of late he’s been instigating fights with the other boys he cannot possibly win then grousing when he loses and they don’t like him .

    Late last night he called the police so we had a ‘ welfare check ‘ , at the end the officers tried to talk to him and said ‘ if we come out again for this nonsense _you_ will be going to jail , no one else .

    Sigh .


  2. Jean Troy

    Funny how the parent who is doing well is always doubtful While the parent who probably smuggly smiled at your presentation is the one who really needed the class. I’ve done training for adults and I’ve always been amused by this reaction.

  3. Bill Allen, Jr.

    Dear Shirlee,

    It has become so difficult living and raising children in this society. But if a child grows up to—-have a “functional” education, knows how to avoid being a “victim” in his/her environment, knows how to take care of himself/herself, is not on drugs, not an abuser of alcohol, by God’s grace he/she does not have a criminal record, has a sense of strong values, possesses a sense of self-respect and respect for his/her parents/family/and senior citizens overall…then that parent should know that they did their very best job in raising their child!! And although there will be unfortunate cases whereby not all children can be reached… good parenting is like a mirror. It reflects what the parents did (or at least what they tried to do)—-and what the child or adult- child conveys or presents in their every day life.
    “It is not the lamp, but the manners which give light to the home.”
    —-Ethiopian Proverb

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