What is the number one job of a parent? It’s not daily tasks or helping kids excel, though both are important. Read on—the answer may surprise you.
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On a day-to-day basis, parents make sure kids are safe, fed and well-loved. Some days we’re in survival mode as you tackle tantrums and get yourself and our kids out of the house on time. Other times, we’re guiding them through practical skills like learning to read.
But what is our single job description?
Given all we do for our kids, we can’t list every duty we’ve ever performed in the name of parenthood. That’s why I’ve narrowed it down to one:
The number one job of a parent
The number one job of a parent is to raise future adults.
Imagine yourself 25 years from now. You’re sitting across the table from your now adult daughter, who would likely be in her 20s and 30s. What kind of adult would you hope to sit across the table from? If she’s a mom, how would you hope she parents her own children?
Your child will be her own person and will define her future as she sees fit. But much of who she will be stems from how you raise her now:
You read books at bedtime. Yes, you’re establishing a nightly routine. But you’re also raising an adult who will frequent the library and read for enjoyment.
You prepare baby food or establish family dinners. You’re not just feeding a baby but raising a future adult with a healthy relationship with food.
You encourage children to contribute with chores around the house. Not just to have extra help but to show them how to cook for and clean up after themselves when they’re older.
You finger paint and make crafts. Not just to fill your day with artwork, but to find new ways to create, imagine and problem-solve.
You guide kids through social conflicts with other children. Not just to sort through a sticky situation but to help them learn to do this for themselves. Especially when they’re adults faced with difficult situations.
You help your toddlers manage their tantrums not just to comfort, but to teach him life lessons. He’ll learn that not everything goes his way. How to calm himself down. How to express frustration and feel reassured that all emotions are normal.
Raising future adults
You love your kids, and they in turn grow up to become the amazing adults they’ll be.
Parenting is hard. Our duties are ever-changing and never-ending. We can’t even quit our jobs or ask to transfer to another department. And as every first-time mom can agree, learning on the job is the way we’re introduced to our roles.
So when you’re wondering how many times you can read Goodnight Moon, you’re not just raising kids. You’re raising the future adults they’ll become.
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- How to Practice Mindful Parenting
Tell me in the comments: Do you agree with the number one job of a parent? What are some ways you’re raising future adults?
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