Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


Parenting now

Posted on March 02, 2008 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes
Sunday, March 2, 2008      

Recently, some baby boomer friends (born right after the Second World War) and I we were exchanging views on how we have raised our kids so far. I discovered three things during the conversation. One, that the topic continues to be a hot one for our generation who now have grown-up offspring; two, that people can get really worked up about it; and three, every parent I ever talked to about child rearing these days is in doubt, anxious and constantly needing assurance about the correctness of his or her methodology.

At a talk before a school PTA, I described parenting today as akin to driving without a rear-view mirror. Unlike our parents and the generations before them who seemed so sure of the template they were following on how kids should be raised, parents these days have great doubts about applying the same methodology and rules in bringing up their own children. After all, by most accounts, the world doesn’t seem to be the same as the one our parents, or we ourselves, grew up in. Things are changing so fast nobody really knows where the world is going. Somewhere along the way, we’ve all come to the same conclusion that baseball manager Yogi Berra did years ago when he said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

When we were young, parental influence and control was almost total and rarely challenged. These days, while parents are out working, kids are being raised at home not just by their yayas but also by the all-pervading “third parent” which imparts a whole other set of values that are often in conflict with what we teach our kids. I am talking about the media — television and the Internet — and their stranglehold on our children. These modern sources of values that are grounded more in commercial interests than anything remotely altruistic is a major source of concern.

In this brave new world where the allure of advertising, consumerism, TV and the Internet compete for our children’s hearts, minds and souls, how does one raise a family?

I am no expert. I have no college degree or a Ph.D. that can back up my theories or that endorse my methods. All I can say is that these rules I share with you today have worked for my own family:

1. Be around. There is no substitute for showing up and being there especially during your kids’ formative years when you can still greatly influence them. I have great concern and compassion for families with absentee OFW parents. I can only imagine how torn they must be. As a performer who was quite often absent when my kids were growing up, I can imagine the anxiety OFW parents feel and the effect of years of their absence on their loved ones. This is an issue we must deal with as a society.

2. Be fully present. Aside from just being around, be involved, caring, attentive and genuinely interested when you are with your children. When we pay attention, we awaken to the beauty, wonder and the gifts that they truly are.

3. Listen first so you will be listened to. This is one lesson that I apply not just to my kids but to everyone I meet. It’s the old adage about doing unto others as you wish them to do unto you. People give back what you dish out to them.

4. It’s about the children, not about you. Often, parents project their own dramas and issues on their kids and this puts a lot of undue pressure on them. Our kids are not there to raise us and take care of us. As much as possible, we should not burden them with our own problems. We are there to parent, not be parented.

5. Be consistent, yet flexible. Too much authoritarianism is a setup for rebellion.

6. Create your own family rituals, and make a big deal of them. In my own family, dinners often are open, noisy, happy events where a lot of storytelling and sharing happens. It has not always been like this. There was a time when people around our table ate quietly, ignoring each other, and left the plate with nary a word exchanged. That was until I put my foot down and demanded that everyone talk to each other. For a start, I told them to share three things that happened to them in the course of the day, every night at dinner.

The following evenings were tense and the conversation seemed contrived and forced but I did not budge or allow any excuses. After a few nights, signs of real conversation began to take place, and not too long after, dinners extended to more than one hour because we all had discovered the joy of the art of conversation.

7. Give them space and privacy when needed. This is a sacred rule that I follow.

8. Don’t miss out on opportunities to laugh, cry, go out together, and other ways of bonding. Sooner than you think, the kids get older, move out and have their own lives. While you can, eat out, travel, enjoy, share, laugh, cry, have heart-to-heart talks and just be together. These will constitute memories of a family life they will cherish and pass on.

9. Support them in whatever career they choose. This is something my own mother practiced. But while her children were free to choose their paths, she only asked that we strived to be the best in what we did.

10. As best as we can, let’s walk our talk. We cannot preach one thing and do another. Teaching by example is still the best way to impart values.

11. Be a happy, responsible and loving adult they can emulate. Too often, too many kids do not have adults they can look up to who can actually mirror adult behavior. Wouldn’t you like to be that to them? To be that, we must work on our own happiness as well. We can only give what we have.

12. Teach them everything you know to be true — but accept that they will want to discover their own truths as well. As parents, there is so much we have learned in our own journeys that we do not share with our kids. There are the painful lessons we learned as we were growing up, and new ones we continue to grapple with. But as much as we want to share lessons, we must remember that certain lessons need to wait to be shared when they are more grown-up. Age-appropriateness is a consideration.

My parents taught me a lot of values that I am grateful for. However, as an adult, I realize that not everything they taught me is applicable in my life. Some of the lessons may have been true for them but not necessarily true for me. There are many truths I had to experience and learn on my own.

I believe that the aim of all parenting is not for our children to become carbon copies of us, but for them to come into their own. Successful parents are those who actually allow and encourage their children to “outgrow” them.

13. As much as possible, thank and acknowledge everything positive you have learned from your children. My children are not just great sources of joy but of continuous wisdom as well. As much as they have learned many things from us, we have been “forced” by our children to grow more and more into responsible adulthood that we often rejected. Children have the amazing capacity to “kidnap” their parents and take them to scary places, to realities they do not wish to experience or confront. Issues such as sex, courtship, money, responsibility and what a true mature adult should be, are just some of them. Through our children, we discover patience, humility, sacrifice, discernment, wisdom and understanding, and become better people for it.

14. Keep in mind that adulthood is all about balancing the following:

a. Work (career, living, job)

b. Sex (relationships in general and specifically with the opposite sex)

c. Money (trust, responsibility)

d. Spirit (God, art, intangibles)

e. Food and all physical intakes (drugs, eating habits, health issues)

To be able to negotiate these five areas in ones’ life is to become a healthy, happy and balanced adult.

We baby boomers may worry that in the desire to give our children what we never had, we may have spoiled them or made them too soft. Or worse, we may have given them a false sense of entitlement. That is a valid concern. But in the end, whether we were excessive or not, I am hopeful that the love that accompanied all our efforts in bringing them up may temper the effects of our imperfect parenting and make them the people they were truly meant to become.

* * *

Last week, I suggested to those who are in transition and paralyzed by inertia in their lives should just “jump and the net will appear.” If it doesn’t, what may happen is you discover that you can grow wings!

The Tapping the Creative Universe (TCU) workshop begins its 38th run this March, fresh from a successful Sydney run last January.

This workshop will awaken your awesome creativity that may have remained dormant these past years, and give you the experience of unlimited joy, power and achievement. If you are in-between dreams, relationships, careers, lives or feel that parts of you are stuck, this is the workshop for you.

TCU will be held from March 10 to 14, and concludes March 17, from 7 to 9 p.m. at 113 B. Gonzales, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. The fee for the six-day seminar is P5,000.

* * *

Those interested or who wish to get a copy of the syllabus can call 426-5375 or 0916-8554303 or e-mail emailjimp@gmail.com and I will be happy to respond.

0 to “Parenting now”

  1. Terrific post! I will include a link to your post in the next issue of Parenting News You Can Use, a free weekly e-zine published by the International Network for Children and Families. Please visit http://www.INCAF.com or http://www.WholeHeartedParenting.com to get your issue! Thanks for the wonderful and loving suggestions.

  2. Marina Bulaong says:

    I’ve been reading The Artist’s Way but never got to finish it. Sounds like a better idea going to a creativity workshop instead. I’m very interested and would like to see the syllabus if possible, can send it to my email?

    Thank you in advance!

  3. karampot says:

    I can only nod and be reflective of this entry. Parenting has become such a consuming balancing act that there is always a fear that things will topple over and bury us alive. I am just glad that I have a partner who shares this task with me and this makes me more courageous than I normally am. Thanks for sharing this wisdom. I hope that I would be able to give my kids the parenting that they deserve. Cheers!

  4. Miles says:

    We migrated to Australia when my children were four and five years old. When they were still in primary school, my daughter asked me if I could treat them as adults saying that “children know much much more than what adults think they do”. Granting her request molded 2 responsible young adults.

    Regards!

    Happy Miles

  5. thekat24 says:

    Hey, it also helps a whole lot to have father who sings about patriotism, family, friendhsip, innocent love. Your CD’s are in our cars. Really great to listen to when I/my husband want it light and easy…that is, until my son asks if he can switch to his radio station. 😉

    Really, parenting nowadays is a lot harder because of external influences. So, it’s important to guide them the best way we can. And, quantity time is quality time.

  6. beatburn says:

    I have read a lot of parenting books and articles.
    I haven’t read something that connected like this post.

    Being a new father (just four months into it), I experience the anxiety and the sleepless nights (even if my baby is sound asleep).

    I will print a copy and keep near my bedside.

    Salamat.

    By the way, my baby sleeps better with “Panalangin” and “Batang-bata” (the original versions of course).

    Salamat muli.

  7. Maya says:

    Great insights, Jim. As a mom of 2 teenage boys it is sometimes hard to keep up with them as they mature in leaps and bounds. As my husband and I juggle career and parenting roles sometimes its smooth sailing along the way, at other times, it can be a rather bumpy ride. And this is made more difficult by the world in which they are growing up in.

    But true, there is no substitute for parents being there for them, i mean truly being there, not just physically. My husband and I see to it that we have a healthy respect, love and acceptance for who they are, (we even try to listen to their favorite music and share to them ours, too) we try to keep communication lines open (yeah, dinners stretch to an hour and there are intense healthy discussions going around the table), we surround our children with a fence of prayer (very important for us) and we gather as a family to pray (we are serious about nurturing the spiritual life of our children).

    Yup, we have been given a big responsibility and its a task we take to heart seriously but we are also determined to find joy and excitement as we do it along the way. So we always buckle up daily and expect the ride of our lifetime!

    All the best!

  8. corine says:

    Loved your post and the very basic rules of parenting, need to post a copy on my refrigerator to be reminded on days that we need cheering up!

  9. This is one of the best parenting tips i’ve read…Now I know you’re not only a great singer and songwriter, but a professional blogger too.

    btw, i am a fan of APO…

    Thank you and God Bless!

  10. WHAT A WONDERFUL ARTICLE! THANK YOU FOR ALL THE WONDERFUL INSIGHT. FOR MORE PARENTING INSIGHT ON THIS TYPE OF PARENTING STYLE GO TO http://WWW.INCAF.COM TO FIND A PARENTING COURSE NEAR YOU THAT CAN START YOU ON A WONDERFUL PARENTING JOURNEY….PUT THE JOY AND LOVE BACK INTO PARENTING! HERE’S PARENTING FOR THE FUTURE! PEACE…..



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