I feel that before I get too far into this blog that I should address a very important issue and that is that kids are not computers. With computers, you can plug in the right kind of data and poof the computer performs as it should. Kids are human and you can do all the right things and the outcome can vary as much as there are colors on a moodring. My husband switched careers from pyschology to computers because he needed more certain outcomes when solving problems. It can never be that way with parents. There is no certainty.
I know of many people who grieve over children who have strayed away from the very things that their parents cared very deeply about and instilled in them; values, faith in God etc. So be sure that the articles in the blog are not meant to make anyone feel as if parenting is as easy as 7 steps to the kids you've always wanted. It's just not that way.
However, that being said, a parent should not feel nihilistic. Parents need a road map to follow. Values need to be instilled. Relationships need to be built and tended. And parents need to always cling to hope no matter where their children are at emotionally, spiritually, physically. And a parent who realizes that they have offered their children direction, values, a home filled with love, can rest more easily in that hope than a parent who looks back with regrets and can see how their behavior may have played a role in a child who has gone in a bad direction by the things they have done or the things they have left undone.
No one is perfect. But you can be a good enough parent. As parents I believe that we should be always adding to our parenting repertoire. Don't beat yourself up if you are suddenly made aware that you have been doing things ineffectively as a parent. Always be open to the many resources and support systems available and work hard to change things. When we recognize what we can do to change a negative situation with a child, we realize that the power to make things better rests in our hands.
So we have a choice. We can accept the power we have to change things. That might be hard as it might involve admitting we are wrong (yikes) and seeking forgiveness as well as changing our stubborn ways. But consider the other option- admitting powerless over the situation and blaming a child or waiting for the day our child will come around... A day that may never come.
But if a parent has done all they can to rectify a bad situation, waits patiently in love and maintains an attitude of respect, acceptance and love for a child through the hard times.. I believe that in many, many situations with time, healing will occur.
My kids are young, 12 and under. I almost feel inadequate writing about such things. I can hear some of you saying.. Just wait. And knowing the hearts of my children, I know that one of them needs to learn through experience and consequences and that child scares me. But I have interacted with many young adults trying to manage difficult relationships with parents and I have witnessed the grief of many wonderful parents whose kids "should have" emerged from childhood unscathed. And I know that prodigal children can come out of the best households. Not an indication of failure on the parents part. Just a need for Mom/Dad to cling to hope. All the love and care and support is instilled in those children and they need to find it within themselves in their own time and in their own way, but rest assured if you've been intentional about it, it's in there.