The saying goes that hindsight brings 20/20 vision. There’s some truth in that, too – most of us can look back on events we have already lived through and see things differently from how we did at the time.
The same goes for parents whose kids are now in their teenage years. They can look back and study what they did right, what they did wrong and – most importantly – the changes they would now make with their 20/20 vision. Would they parent differently? Most would admit there are a few things they would change – and by finding out what those are, parents in the thick of the younger years can bring some clarity to their situation.
“I wouldn’t have worried so much.”
This is the crux of so many nostalgic looks back on parenting; parents realize they worried too much. Put it like this: humans have been raising children for millennia. We’ve raised children through plagues, fire, fury, global revolution and the tyranny* of a purple dinosaur.
Kids are hardy sorts. There’s even a biological reason for why they can take lumps and bumps that would lay most adults up for a week; their bones aren’t fully rigid yet. If you worry so much you prevent your children from engaging in normal childhood activities like using a trampoline, then it might be time to ease back.
(*Okay, so not tyranny, but there was always something a bit shifty about old Barney)
“I’d have planned more.”
Planning is a seductive idea. It tells us that all we need to do is lay our lives out in front of us and we’ll be able to anticipate every danger that might head our way. The reality is somewhat less organized – but there are certain areas you can plan as a parent.
Clothes, for example. In the early years, you know your child is going to grow incredibly quickly. So rather than find yourself struggling to fasten a romper suit and having no alternates, stock up on various sizes by visiting baby shows and exploring the ranges available. If you find something you like, then don’t just buy it in the size that fits right now – buy it for the size that will fit in six months time, too.
Furthermore, if you’re out of the habit of keeping a paper journal, then it might be time to return to it. Being able to see the forthcoming month at a single glance helps keep on top of playdates, after school activities and the other plethora of tasks related to raising a child. It’ll save you a lot of time and money.
“I’d have recorded more.”
As touched on above: children grow up incredibly quickly. In the blink of an eye, you go from baby to the first day at school through to them leaving for college. Many parents of older children wish they had recorded more, both in photographs and in a journal. Make a habit of, once a week, writing down all the memorable things you and your child have done that week. It makes a beautiful record to look back on, as well as ensuring you appreciate the little things.