I have seen a few lists floating around Facebook that suggest a bunch of things you can do with your kid to be a good parent, or to get the most out of parenting. And I (honestly) have nothing against them. I don't have a kid. I don't really want one. And I believe in birth control. So I don't have very strong opinions on whether or not you play with your kid or teach them to do laundry, or ... . Similarly, I don't have strong opinions on parenting styles. Doesn't seem to matter too much whether parent-friends of mine treat their kids like little soldiers (of sports/ dance/ whatever); or whether they treat them more like small autonomous adults who deserve their own agency; or whether they let them run amok expressing their unrestrained creativity. Or whatever else.
Some parents read books and make spreadsheets. Others dance and make funny sounds. Others do other stuff.
I don't actually know that it matters too much one way or another beyond the basics of: love, food, shelter, safety, stability, and education.
I do know one thing though. Your kid will learn from who you are, from what you do and say in your own life, far more than anything else in the world. Or to put it another way, what's unresolved in your life, will seem to your child like fate (to steal a construction from Jung). Think about this for a second. Look at the pathologies, struggles, and anguish appearing in your life. Look at all the successes that you've had. Do you see any of that in your parents, in their parents? Each of us perpetuates what is (beyond?) good and evil in our culture in ways we are rarely aware of.
So maybe, we should all make lists on how to suck less in our own lives.
My list is very short (and deceptively complex):
- Be more empathic.
- Be more expressive.