A career/role uniquely personal is the decision to become a parent. For many, now and in the past, parenthood is and was expected merely on the basis of their physiological development, a social expectation, their observations of others having children and wanting to have a child like everyone else. Although one has the biological ability to father or mother a child, as many know, does not translate to the ability to parent one. Some among us who have children should have never had a child. Or had their child or children before he/she was prepared to appropriately deal with parental responsibilities.
Once a child is born, there is a no return or trade-in policy, no 30 day trial period or warranties against defects. From a consumer standpoint, deciding to have a child is an irrevocable commitment to a product (child). One may sell their house, leave their employer for another job, divorce their spouse but they cannot divorce themselves from their child.
Assessing one’s parental potential/readiness is seldom accomplished. In this era of irresponsible responsibility, there are teens below the age of 14 years and even more in their 20’s deciding to engage in active sexual activity, wanting to be parents or not assessing their readiness for parenthood though engaged in sexuality for recreational purposes with the belief they are ready to accept parenthood should it occur. When parenthood does occur, many of these individuals end up spending the remainder of their childhoods rearing a child or children in constant anger and frustration electing to abandon, abuse, neglect or put up for the adaptation the child or children they thought they loved or loved.
So what are the keys to parenting a child/children?
1.A desire to be a good parent. Individuals who become parents by chance or accident, in many instances, under 18 years of age are usually a formula for failure, poverty, low education for their child in the coming years are found in many cases. However, desiring to be a parent helps tremendously towards doing what is necessary to a parent.
2.Are the reasons to have a child appropriate? Having a child to keep a boyfriend, save a marriage or hope a marriage will result, please a parent/parents, prove sexual prowess, get money, tax refunds, seek attention are strategies that are generally short-term often with long term negative consequences. Commitment and desire on the part of a potential parent are vitally important in the long term and a requirement of parenting.
3.Assessing one’s parental skills. Helping to appropriate parenting is a personal assessment of one’s own skills and limitations as a parent. Questions one might consider asking are: “Am I patient with children? Do I know and understand what a child needs and am I willing to fulfill them? Am I willing and able to discuss childhood needs with my spouse? Will my career interfere with my parenting? Do I have the financial resources to support the child?”
4.Understand that being a parent cannot be reversed.
Even after weighing the pros and cons of having a child and assessing one’s
psychological needs, state of health, financial readiness, support systems, the potential parent may continue to have difficulty reaching a decision. It is difficult to know in advance, even under the most ideal conditions, how one will adjust and adapt to the role of being a parent. Some might find parenting very rewarding but others might be left irritated, tired, frustrated and unfulfilled by parenthood.