Bret W. Lester

Why I Don't Give Parenting Advice

I am the father of three boys, 13, 11 and 2. Becoming a parent has been the most humbling experience of my life. Not only do you lose control of your life but your actual sense of well being becomes tied to that of another human. So everything you do is about providing the best environment for that kid to thrive. And sometimes they’re unhappy and you have no idea why, and naturally you blame yourself.

I don’t give parenting advice because I’m getting my ass kicked daily. Ostensibly I have no idea what I’m doing. I make mistakes all the time. I question my decisions. I worry about what they eat, how long they’re on the computer, if they’re getting exercise, if they’ve got friends at school, the list is endless. I’m exacerbated. It’s mentally draining. So don’t ask me. I’m a mess. All I can do is my best not to reflect all that insecurity onto my kids because while it may be well intentioned, it’s best to keep it contained, so they’re happy. I don’t believe in helicopter parenting because I believe it leads to neurosis in the little ones. I believe the most important thing you can do for your children is simply be there for them unconditionally, always. Suspend judgement, so they know, no matter what, you’re someone they can turn to. But this isn’t advice. It’s just what I believe.

Also I believe that expectations can be poisonous. Expecting your kid to fit a mold that you’ve set up in your mind will only lead to strife in your relationship. Just assume that each one of your kids will defy your expectations, and you have to be ok with it. All you can do is hope they’ll turn out a certain way, but try to keep it to yourself because kids have a tendency to do the opposite of what they’re parents want.

But this isn’t advice. It’s what I believe. Parenting, especially in an increasingly secular society, is HARD. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “it takes a village”. It’s true.


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