There is a history to your
parent-child relationship that began at the moment your
youngster was born. To help you better understand the present,
try to gain some insights into where you have been as a family.
Think back on your experiences with your child when he was a
baby, a toddler, and a preschooler. Ask yourself:
How active a parent were you in
those early years? Did you play a major child-raising role
in the family, or were there other demands (such as long
hours at work) that kept you from being as involved as you
would have liked?
What were your most enjoyable
parenting and family experiences during those years?
Even if you made mistakes during
those early years, you can amend them now. If you missed out on
certain family experiences because you were working too hard,
you still have many years to enjoy your spouse and children. In
general, children are understanding and forgive their parents
for shortcomings and faults. And if you weren't there when your
child took his first steps or rode his tricycle for the first
time, you can be there for other special events to come, like
your child's school play and his soccer games.
Spend some time thinking about how
you are doing as a parent during these middle years of your
youngster's childhood. This is a challenging time, in which your
child is seeking more independence and is questioning the
family's rules. And, from time to time, you may have to help him
with school-related problems. He will be developing more peer
relationships, too, and his interactions with siblings may
For many men and women, the stress in
their lives interferes with their ability to parent. If they are
unhappy on the job, for instance, they might return home
preoccupied and tense at the end of the day and be unable to
handle the tasks of running a family as effectively.
Take a moment to assess how you feel
about these and other important aspects of your life.
Evaluate problems in these areas, and
how they might be influencing your family life. Whenever
possible, find ways to deal with these difficulties in your life
more effectively, so they will not interfere with your