Photo by Julia M Cameron

Parenting kids with Down syndrome can be quite difficult, and at times, there are missteps–but it should always be remembered that parents are people too.

Lynda Drake coaches people on the difficulty of being a parent. If you think parenting kids with Down syndrome is pretty difficult, she has got a thing or two to tell you, but her seminars and lessons don’t just end there. 

Parenting, in general, is a very challenging and often thankless job. A significant factor is that society can be quite condescending to parenthood–in particular to the contributions of mothers. However, it is an extremely important of society and a foundational cornerstone of human civilization.

Parenthood is often romanticized as a magical experience where parents are always expected to be perfect and selfless. However, the reality is far from this idealistic image. Parents are people, too, with their limitations and struggles.

As a society, it is often overlooked that parents are just like everyone else. Society conveniently forgets that they have their dreams, desires, and aspirations. They make mistakes, experience failures, and have moments of weakness. Yet, it is expected of them to be superhuman and handle everything that comes their way gracefully and effortlessly.

The pressure to be a perfect parent can be overwhelming. Parents have to be the primary caregivers, responsible for their children’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. They also have to properly balance their professional and personal lives while finding time for their kids. This can lead to burnout, stress, and even depression.

Parents Are People Too

Parents are often judged and criticized for how they parent their kids. Everyone has an opinion, whether it’s their discipline methods, food choices, or screen time rules. This can be incredibly challenging, especially for new parents still trying to figure out what works best for their family.

The truth is, there is no one right way to parent–of course, hurting children is where the line is drawn. 

Every family is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Parents should be allowed to make decisions without fear of judgment or criticism. They should also be given the support and resources they need to navigate the challenges of parenthood.

It’s incredibly important to recognize that parents are people, too. They should be provided time for self-care, hobbies, and socializing. They also need support from their partners, friends, and family members. Neglecting these needs is one way that leads to resentment, dissatisfaction, and even relationship problems.

Children Are People Too

There is a whole heap of responsibilities that come with a parent. One of the most important things parents can do for their children is to engage with them without prejudice and arrogance. As the norm should be to consider parents as people too, the opposite should also be. Children are also people too. Parents must be open-minded and willing to learn from their children rather than assuming they know everything.

Parents should acknowledge that their children are unique individuals with personalities, interests, and opinions. The same as them. It’s essential to listen to their views and be curious about their perspectives rather than imposing your beliefs onto them. 

Making assumptions about children’s behavior or motivations should be strictly avoided. It’s easy enough to make random conclusions based on limited information, but taking the time to understand the situation entirely is challenging but extremely vital. This means asking questions, clarifying misunderstandings, and being patient. By doing so, parents can handily avoid misunderstandings and conflicts with their children.

The willingness to admit mistakes should be regularly practiced. No one is perfect, and parents are no exception. Parents must acknowledge their mistakes and take responsibility for their actions. This can help children learn the importance of taking responsibility and promote transparency in the family.

Parents should also be mindful of the language they use with their children. Words can be powerful, and using negative or belittling language can impact a child’s self-esteem. Rather than leaning into negativity, parents should use positive and encouraging language to reinforce their child’s self-worth and promote a mindset that seeks growth.

Finally, if parents want their children to follow in their footsteps, they should learn how to model the behavior they want to see in their children. Children learn by example, and parents should do the same if they want their children to engage with others with respect and open-mindedness. 

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