Responsible parenting is really all about taking good care of your child. It doesn’t mean that you do everything perfect, or even try to do everything perfect – because every single parent we have seen who wanted to be a perfect parent made things so much more difficult and challenging on himself or herself, and often made many mistakes if he or she had taken a more relaxed approach to his new role as a father, or her new role as a mother.
So doesn’t that seem kind of contradictory or paradoxical? Responsible parenting and relaxed parenting?
No, not at all.
Because one of the crucial skills in this life is to be able to handle stress and perform under pressure. It’s important in this life that you are capable of managing stress and not folding like a cheap chair under a massive two ton pressure when you’re in a stressful period in life. And if you’re not relaxed yourself, how can you teach your child to be relaxed and competent in handling stress?
So part of responsible parenting is that you are not just responsible for your child but also for your own wellbeing. It does take self-maintenance, and if you skip on that, nothing good will come from it. What’s more, you will teach your child (implicitly of course) that it’s not important to take care of himself or herself.
I don’t know whether you have a son or a daughter, or maybe both. When it comes to responsible parenting, then that means that you accept it all and completely embrace everything your child brings into this world. All his and her mistakes, all his and her wonderful little things that no one else could contribute to this society we call humanity.
Responsible parenting is about setting rules and discipline, and about giving your child the freedom he or she needs to blossom. And that’s not always easy to do. Almost every parent tends to be overprotective. But sometimes the best way to “protect” your child is to let your child figure out some things on his or her own, and then make sure that he or she learns from that experience and is capable of forming a good interpretation which can be used as a meaningful guideline for future behavior in your child’s life.
There is an interesting story about the childhood of Sir Richard Branson, the self-made multi-billionaire. When he was just a small boy, not even going to school yet, his mother set him out on the street alone and told him to get back home. This was several miles away from their home, and he didn’t really know the way. Of course many people would think of this as a bad thing, and as irresponsible, but it taught Branson very early on that it’s worth overcoming challenges – which is a big part of what made him as successful as he is today.
So responsible parenting is also about sometimes doing things that other people might view as irresponsible if you are certain that it’s the best for your kids. Of course talk about these things with other people, because there is a real possibility that you could be wrong. But in the end, don’t let other people’s opinions dictate how you raise your child.