Education and training are central to the modern, Western world. We go to school, invest in vocational equipping, and attend workshops to perfect our skills. Within this culture of knowledge and skill accumulation, parenting is also increasingly deemed a worthy enough subject in which to receive training – hence the overwhelming ocean of parenting resources: from articles and books to YouTube videos and TV shows to workshops and courses! Ever heard people complain, “Kids don’t come with a manual!”? They lie. Kindly point them to the Internet or any given bookshop.
So, should parents “go to school”? There are many good reasons why we should consider it!
Our children’s well-being
The first few years of a person’s life set the stage for many things: emotional regulation, self-discipline, self-esteem, and relationships – to name but a few. Parenting during this time plays a significant role in the outcome not only of the child but also of his adult version. Yup, that means the hug you just handed out may make your son a happier 40-year-old… or something like that.
No pressure, right!?
But stressing about child-rearing won’t help us one bit. However, it is probably a good thing if we feel the heavy weight of this responsibility to ensure we do not take the task lightly. While we should acknowledge that we as parents are merely fallible mortals who will certainly mess up many times (and that’s also okay – the little humans under our care are more robust than we think), it certainly won’t hurt to be as equipped as possible for this momentous mission. So, yes – let’s train ourselves!
Our own well-being
We’ve all experienced that painful feeling of incompetence – whether it was caused by a task we could not manage at work or that “flop-proof” cake that fell flat. I recently could not figure out how to operate a baby toy – and almost cried! When we feel out of our depth, it leads to frustration, lowered self-esteem and even feelings of helplessness and depression. Is parenting a constant culprit in your experience of inadequacy? (“I don’t know what to do when my sweet little girl throws herself to the floor and transforms into an orc!”, “My children won’t eat anything that vaguely resembles the colour green!”, “I don’t understand my five-year-old son’s mood swings – weren’t those reserved for adolescent girls?!”)
These feelings of failure are not healthy for us; it affects the overall atmosphere in our homes – and it could even creep into our marriages. Getting a handle on parenting is therefore good for ME.
Well-raised children grow up to become the bedrock of healthy societies. Think of it: A child who learned to abstain from giving an Oscar-worthy performance of The Hulk when angry will most probably be a better spouse, parent and employee. A child who was taught to be confident about his abilities (whether it was weeing in the toilet, drawing a stick person or adding one and one…) will assumably make more productive contributions during adulthood. And so forth…
Furthermore, fewer problems at home inevitably translate to fewer burdens on other institutions of society – like schools, workplaces, the healthcare system and welfare. If our homes are in order it spills over to the community around us.
Being an equipped and educated parent is thus not only for our own and our offspring’s sake, but it is a gift we give to the world.
Munchkins supports your training as a parent!
Munchkins is dedicated to helping parents grow in their competence and to see families flourish. We offer one-on-one parent coaching (even through Zoom!), parenting talks on various topics, and parenting books by supergranny Andalene Salvesen. Read more here and book one here.