I’m Not Parenting a Baby :: I am Raising an Adult

When you first find out you’re pregnant, your mind immediately goes to pregnancy, labor & delivery and the first couple months (sometimes days) of the baby being home. But to me, as a society, we focus so much on our children that they are infants, we tend to forget that we are raising children who will be adults one day. So what does that look like? I think the picture of our children as adults probably varies from person to person.

I want my children to be able to think on their own about issues that are presented in society.

There is a certain level of sheltering our children that is to be expected depending on your child’s age based on judgements we make as parents, but I think healthy discussion with your middle or high schooler is important. We can discuss world hunger and how we can make steps to end it instead of ignoring it and moving on in our lives.

I want my children to be exposed to various cultures, religions and people.

I can vividly remember, as a 13 year old in ninth grade, when the bubble I had been raised in burst. All of a sudden, I saw people I had never seen and immediately froze and was unable to communicate. My kids, on the other hand, have been lucky to have a diverse friend base. Just because you think or feel differently on something doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from each other.

I want my children to be able to do basic household duties.

As parents, I get it some will say it is our responsibility to take care of the household to raise our children. However, your kids will one day be living on their own. It is a disservice to them if you don’t teach them basic household duties. My twelve year old can cook simple meals, take care of laundry and run the dishwasher. I am confident that by the time he is going away to college, he will be able to take care of his house.

I want my children to fight for others not against them.

There are a multitude of ways to do this … from defending the kid on the playground being bullied to sticking up for a group of people when they are being stereotyped in conversation. I want my children to be the fighters for equality and love. They learn by example, and we do our best for love to be the language spoken in our household. It is MUCH harder than it sounds, and we are by no means perfect, but we do our best.

Finally, when I reflect on what kind of adults I want my children to be, I want them to be nice.

Nice to their classmates, nice to strangers, and nice to their future spouse. I would like to ask you that when an issue presents itself and you want to push it aside and ignore it, have that conversation. Talk with your kids about the hard things, then they will be having that conversation with YOU instead of someone at school.

It is our job as parents to prepare our kids to be self-sufficient adults, and it can start with simple, easy steps.

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