Twenty-Four Years of Parenting

back of small child walking with an adult while holding their hand

This week marks the 24th anniversary of my entry into parenthood. The person who welcomed me to the job is a rather wonderful young man who has made my parenting journey a very nice one. I’d like to take credit for how fabulous he is, but he deserves the kudos far more than I do. I’m pretty sure that he is great despite me, rather than because of me.

I’ve received a great deal of parenting advice in twenty-four years. The worst advice was to, “Enjoy every moment of it because it goes so quickly.” Trust me, you won’t enjoy every moment of it, nor is it at all realistic for you to do so. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture and yet new parents are expected to survive it and be good parents. Temper tantrums (yours or theirs), body fluids, sibling rivalry, and outrageous illnesses are not to be enjoyed, but rather survived. If you haven’t loved every minute of parenthood, you are not alone.

Our Children Are Our Teachers

There are two things I have learned as a mother. The first is that I learned more from my son than he learned from me. The second is that acceptance versus control will be better for both of us.

My son taught me how to be a mom and when I listened to him, I was a very good mother. When he was a toddler and told me, “Mommy, don’t help. I can do this myself.” he was right. When he was a school aged boy and said, “Mom, please don’t check my grades online. They are my responsibility, not yours.” he was right. And when I was sad that he was no longer close friends with a boy that I had liked, he said, “I can pick my own friends and you can pick yours.” Again, he was so right. Trusting him to slowly take on responsibility and step back was always the right thing to do.

Here’s a confession: I like to control situations, people, life, etc. I think I’m good at it and if everyone just listened to me, I’m quite sure the world would be a better place. As part of that confession, I have to admit that I was hoping to control my children. Apparently, they decided otherwise and as noted above, they were right. So many of us have a vision of who we want our children to be and we spend a lot of time making that happen. Doing so will likely ruin your relationship with your child and probably with yourself.

Your vision for your child might ruin your relationship with them & with yourself. #parenting Click To Tweet

Accepting your child for who they are and who they want to become in life is challenging. It means periodically keeping your mouth shut and watching your children fail. It means letting some of your dreams go and mourning that loss. Yet acceptance will ultimately lead to a better relationship between you and your child and the ability for you to control the one person you can control, yourself. Have I learned this lesson perfectly? Not even close. I’m sure all three of my children will give me many more opportunities to practice the acceptance skill.

So, Happy Parenting Anniversary to me and to my favorite oldest child. Who knew that little colicky baby with an ear piercing pig squeal would have been one of my finest teachers. Raising him and his siblings has been my greatest joy and the hardest joy ever won. I’m looking forward to many more years of lessons . . . and maybe a few grandchildren as well.


Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC

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by Dr. Lisa Kaplin
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About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, PCC

headshot of Lisa KaplinCertified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.

I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.


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Feel More Confident as a Parent

Let’s face it, parenting can be really hard. Sometimes we aren’t sure how to handle really tough situations or really tough kids. Lisa has worked with parents since she started her training as a psychologist and has helped so many of them learn the best tools to relate better to their children, handle difficult decisions, and how to assess whether their child needs more help than just parenting.

If you are ready to change the relationship with your children and feel more confident in your role as a parent, Lisa’s parent coaching is right for you. She does parent coaching either with you or with you and a parenting partner.

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Kids, Eggs, Baskets and You Keep Feeling and Keep Breathing
Kids, Eggs, Baskets and You
Keep Feeling and Keep Breathing

Comments to “Twenty-Four Years of Parenting”

  1. Another awesome message, Lisa. Your words and wisdom really resonate!

    • Administrator

      Betsy, Thank you so much. It’s good to hear from you!


  2. How do you manage to write such perfect posts every time? Yet another I can relate to. My son is 21 now, and I have to keep reminding myself to let him make his own mistakes, while letting him know I’m here if he needs me. It’s not easy!

    • Administrator

      Thank you! Parenting is not easy at all. I write about things that I struggle with and it helps when others seem to have the same struggles.