Seen any poor parenting lately?

by Rod Smith

It’s easy to judge what appears to be poor parenting: the mother who can’t let go, the dad who can’t say no to a three-year-old, the elderly parent who gets scammed by an adult son or daughter and on and on and on….. 

I’d suggest some caution. 

You probably have little idea of what the family has endured to deliver them to this point. What you observe has history. The most powerful forces may predate the participants by generations who may themselves be unaware of the generational tides giving rise to the behavior. 

Off-spring, of all ages, usually have inordinate power over parents. They have our number and know our hot buttons. They know we usually ache when they do. They know we have to resist involving ourselves in things that are none of our business. What you are observing is people on a tight-rope of love, compassion, dreams, desires, successes, heartaches, and failures. Rational behavior, especially to the outside observer, is not that easy. 

The parent is simultaneously trying to enjoy the present, while hoping for the future, and scaling the walls of the past. Many a parent was never reared with any plan, skill, or imagination. He or she simply “got older” and now, in trying to do better for his or her children, is fighting battles to which you, the critic, may be absolutely blind.  



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