Friday, March 30, 2012

Raising Children: A Hair-Raising Experience

A story from the start of one of Mom's first writing classes, talking about her role as a parent and her worries.

The photo is of Mom and my sister and I in September 1979.

Raising children can be a hair-raising experience for both the child and the parents. Life has changed so rapidly in the past 40 years since I was a child. The same rules will not apply today as they did when I was growing up.

I grew up on a farm in South Dakota, number 13 of 14 children. My parents were already in their early forties. In many ways, my older brothers and sisters raised me. But we were always aware that Mom and Dad were there to discipline when needed. There were battles, but somehow there was also plenty of love. The love was not openly displayed with the kissing and hugging, but we knew it was there. We learned to be our own person to make decisions to fall flat on our face, if necessary.

Now with two children of my own, I realize what a difficult job Mom must have had. I've made it through the very young years with what I hope was a good foundation. The teen years are now upon us. I don't feel we can pull the reins in too tightly, yet they need to be aware the reins are there. We need to give confidence in yourself.

My biggest fear is drugs and Aids. One mistake can scar a young child for life. A strong foundation, roots, if you will, is so important in making decisions and realizing the consequences of those decisions. A parent cannot be too critical unless there is also a suggested solution followed by praise.

In short, there are no absolute rules for a parent to follow. If there were, we would all be alike. Plenty of love, goodness and understanding are important. Treat everyone with respect, this includes your own children. Their opinion is very important as well as yours. Husband and wife must be strong together. The key word should always be family.

Connie, Aug. 27, 1991

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