When I was younger, I was happy-go-lucky and carefree. I wanted to try new things, explore the world and jump out of airplanes! I was warned that I would one day become an old and petrified scaredy cat, afraid of things like pop music, sleeve tattoos and the latest fashion trends. Who me? Never! I was at the forefront of self-expression. I loved alternative music, and almost got several tattoos. Nonetheless, I admired those who did.
Fast-forward to today, and I am a bit of a scaredy cat. Yet, the one thing that terrifies me the most is parenting. I am afraid of how my kids will react to shows such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and 2017's most-tweeted show, 13 Reasons Why. How do I explain that these are fictions? That suicide and posing nude every other day isn't as glamorous as it seems?
The younger me would have said, this is scripted--it's not real! Teens are more resilient than we give them credit for--and perhaps, shows give them an escape channel to cope.
Can parenting be taught?
As I've gotten older, I have become more afraid. I no longer want to jump out of airplanes. Heck, I don't even want to ride a roller coaster any longer! Back in my day, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was all the rage. Today, it's Netflix and reality TV. I find myself cringing at some of the topics addressed on modern shows. Now, I understand how my parents felt the same way when I was growing up. Buffy was a complete departure from The Donna Reed Show or The Partridge Family.
I wonder if it's okay to be the helicopter mom, who even when not around, uses fax server software to check up on her kids. Am I doing and saying the right things? Am I utterly uncool? Are they listening to what I'm saying?
Parents have a lot to learn, yet, how? I decided to visit parenting classes in San Jose and Milpitas, local churches and those from private companies. I talked to people who had chosen to attend, and all felt the classes helped them.
Many parents come from different backgrounds such as a single father whose wife left him, and their two kids, to date and tour with a local musician. Many parents I talked to said their objective was to build a better relationship with their children than what they had with their parents. The act of parenting can feel lonely and isolating...it seems I'm not the only mother who thinks "I must be the only one who feels like this."
Still, I don't want to be that depressed mother who has problems bonding with her children. We're afraid to express our true feelings to one another for fear of rejection. Yet, at a parenting class, you can learn that you have more in common with everyone else than you ever thought.
Trying to raise resilient kids
In the end, I want my kids to be strong enough to overcome the many unexpected challenges life throws our way. I want them to have the confidence and ability to withstand dangers, temptations and misleading messages.
I want them to enjoy their youth, but to have a few ounces of discretion when making decisions. I've read that a lack of parental bonding can cause potential attachment issues down the road. I don't want that to happen.
While I try to recall my youthful faith, I doubt it can ever fully recover. This is why I've decided to take a parenting class. I realize, I can never know it all, but I can seek help and guidance. Given how complex our world has become, this may very well be my saving grace.