I would never presume to give advice to other parents. But I do think Fitzhugh Dodson’s words sound a relieving and realistic note and are worth passing on:
You have the right to make mistakes in bringing up your own children: Blunder bravely! Go ahead and make your mistakes, but believe more bravely that, on the whole, you are doing a good job of raising your children…
You have the right to be yourself. Allow your child to be himself, and you will raise a happy and psychologically healthy individual. The same reasoning applies to you as a parent. So raise your child in your own unique way. Have the courage to be yourself—as a husband, or a wife, and, above all, as a parent!
Look, it’s obviously a good thing to try to model and teach good values for your kids. I see many young parents today doing a good job with this—maybe better than we baby boomers did a generation ago.
But Dodson reminds us that, as parents (and grandparents), we may also need to just take a deep breath and relax once in a while—just be our own imperfect selves.
And our kids may be hoping we will!
I heard a speaker who said he wished he could go to parents everywhere and just say three words: “You are forgiven.”