Have you ever asked yourself why you wanted (or want) to have children?
Those who wrestled with the decision or struggled to conceive a child have probably thought about it a good deal. And some have always known the answer, maybe since they were kids themselves. Parenting is figured is a touchy subject. People tend to be very defensive and aggressive when the issue comes up. No one wants to feel judged
But for many parents and would-be parents, the question may seem odd or elementary, which makes it a great question to tackle.
One answer is that we, as a species, harbor an evolutionary drive to propagate. Our small part, at its most basic, perhaps unconscious and even (by design) pleasurable level, is to carry on our DNA to the next generation. If enough of us do that (and we avoid destroying the planet), human beings will thrive.
Another answer is simply social and cultural norms. The majority of the people you know and most of those you don’t are doing it. This is why people who don’t have kids often have an answer to “Why?” at the ready: because everyone asks them. rarely, though, are parents asked what motivated them to have kids. There’s little need to explain behavior that is typical and expected.
You are the parenting expert you’ve been looking for. Whatever reason you led you to have kids and more kids. Your personal desires, history, influences and beliefs that led to such a major life decision is important to solving your problem.
Knowing why you got into this game can give you the insight needed to play it to the best of your ability. You are your own guide to navigating the million and one parenting questions, conundrums and choices you will face from here on.
Historically, people have had children out of economic necessity, to work the farm, for example. Conversely, children can be symbols of prosperity. They can be a reflection of yourself or a vessel for your own wishes and goals. Or parenting can be a noble act or sacrifice for the greater good.
When I asked friends and family this question, it was quite interesting to see how some knew their answers right away while others stared off in the distance with a puzzled look on their faces, as if they’d never pondered it before.
Being a parent is a unique experience. It is a known fact that there are some missed adventures and career options once children start arriving but most parents have described it as the best and most rewarding feat.
Having conversations with some parents made me realize that everyone wishes to be a good parent. But many of them reported challenges.
Parenting, it turns out, is humbling in the way it exposes your insecurities and personality flaws. You can always get better though. The parents interviewed reported trying their best to live up to that potential. However, they routinely fall short. Which isn’t bad because you’re a person first before you’re a parent.
“Mindful parenting” is one of the most enlightened trends in the history of parenting techniques. It’s about being present with your children but also better understand your motivations and feelings while parenting. Getting in touch with your motivation for becoming a parent gives you a perspective too often lacking at difficult parenting moments.
Your own answer to the question is something of a parental compass needle too, pointing the way when you are unsure how to parent in a given situation.
Get back to the roots of your parenting motivation. I could impact how you respond to frustrating moments, how you spend your weekends, what behavior you model and how you talk to your children about life.
Start with the question of why you headed out on the path in the first place. The answer to why you became a parent will help you more clearly draw your map.