Living Outside The Lines: A Candid Look At Parenting

No one and I do mean no one prepares you for the difficult teenage years. Oh, you hear the tales of sullen, moody, disgruntled, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde offspring, but what about the happy endings?

By, Becky J Miller


Here is my hypothesis on child rearing; if we really knew the entire truth regarding raising children, the human race might become extinct. Let’s be honest, it can be a difficult, exhausting, sacrificial, thankless, tear invoking, teeth gritting, hair pulling experience. Of course, there are also moments of pure joy, overwhelming happiness, quiet contentment and chest bursting pride, but it’s the hard times in which we find ourselves wholly unprepared.

Think about the advice passed on from generation to generation. The majority of guidance centers on getting babies to sleep through the night, introducing solid foods, thumb-sucking, and potty training. However, following these mile-markers, the assistance of those with experience comes to a screeching halt, as if parenting ceases abruptly once children are fully capable of toileting themselves.

No one and I do mean no one prepares you for the difficult teenage years. Oh, you hear the tales of sullen, moody, disgruntled, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde offspring, but what about the happy endings? These beautiful chubby cheeked, toothless wonders that turn into gnarling, snarling monsters surely emerge as functioning humans again at some point, don’t they???

Or, what about when the offspring navigate their teenage years with relative ease then suddenly reject everything about their upbringing? How is a parent to respond? These are the terrifying waters of parenthood for which there is no compass. Though differing views may abound, as a discerning parent during these times, one understands extreme care rather than popular opinion must be used when navigating through the emotional minefield of children gone astray.

Even children raised by attentive, involved, loving parents who model steadfast morals before them, have the freedom of choice. And, sometimes those choices land no-where on the spectrum of acceptable. It is in those times that parenting becomes a journey into gut-wrenching sorrow and difficult decisions.

Some parents, unable to handle the pain, choose to walk away, leaving the child to flounder. By no means am I passing judgment, only observing. You see, my husband and I lived through some aspect of difficulty with each of our three children.

Thankfully we are fully on the other side now, with three grown children successfully finding their paths in life. They love us, ask our opinion and want to spend time with us. There was a point however, when we knew our decisions regarding how we interacted with our children could potentially sever any hope of a future relationship.

It has been said that “anything worth having is worth fighting for”; I would absolutely concur when it comes to a deep and meaningful relationship with our children. There were extended periods of time where cutting ties and mourning the lost relationship seemed so much easier than staying in the trenches and fighting. However, trusting the battle would eventually turn in our favor, we pushed through the pain and endured. The end result? Parent and child alike evolved victorious.

The healing process takes time. Releasing fear and learning to trust again do not happen overnight. Slowly, sometimes excruciatingly, a new normal emerges. Then one day, you find yourself sitting across the table from a child who is “suddenly” the person you always knew he or she could be.

These are the untold stories of parenting, untold perhaps because they do not all have happy endings. After all, almost every child eventually sleeps through the night, graduates to solid food and learns to control their bowels. When children turn to drugs, or crime, or simply stop caring, what then? Perhaps those are the stories that ought to be shared, unashamedly, if for no other reason than to provide a network in which hurting moms and dads can grieve.

Parenting is the most joyous pain you will ever experience, and I highly recommend it, with this one word of caution; you’re never really prepared.

Until Next Time,

Becky J Miller ~ Warrior Princess

Becky J Miller is a contributor and is exclusive to SM Corridor News. You can read more of Becky’s columns in Lifestyle.

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