As parents, we do our best to make the right decisions. We don’t always get things right, but we try. Parenting is hard work and as our little ones grow up, we realize how much they understand, what they internalize, and how our day-to-day decisions impact their lives.
We often find ourselves consumed with the impact our decisions will have on their childhood. We try to get them involved with meaningful activities that will keep them engaged and physically fit. We try to make sure they are getting the education they need to be successful in life. We are mindful of what they eat because we know how important a healthy diet is. These are all things we should be doing as parents, but what about the other stuff?
You see, we sometimes don’t realize that the decisions we don’t think of as “parenting” decisions are having a tremendous impact on our kids. And in years to come, our decisions can become a burden for them. I know that’s not what you want for your babies. It’s certainly not what I want for my children.
So as important as it is to focus on their education, their diet and their physical activity, I challenge you to think about the other decisions you make in your life. Those decisions may not have an immediate impact on our children’s lives, but will there be a long-term affect? Will the decisions you make today bring your children stress and pain in adulthood?
Here are 5 decisions I think your kids will thank you for making. They are not easy decisions to make, but the long-term impact of making them is priceless.
Seek help for your depression. So many people with depression suffer in silence, sometimes keeping their condition a secret from their own spouse. Untreated depression doesn’t just go away on its own, though. You have to seek help. I know that seeking help can be very difficult, but find a person you trust and ask them to hold your hand while you take that first step. I can only imagine what a difference it would have made if my own mother got help for her depression years ago instead of suffering in silence for so long.
Show them what healthy love looks like. You can’t stay in a relationship that is unhealthy and makes you unhappy without expecting it to do damage to your kids. It will. If your marriage is suffering, take steps to repair the damage and create a stronger union. If the damage is beyond repair, ask yourself if your kids will really benefit in the long run if you decide to stay together. They need to know that happy, healthy love is, indeed, a very real possibility.
Prepare for the worse. As parents we have to plan for the worse. This means that each parent should have a life insurance policy and as you age, you need to strongly consider long-term care insurance. Without it, if you ever become ill and need care that is not covered by insurance, the responsibility of paying for that care will fall on your children. By making plans today, you give your kids the freedom to focus on their own children when they grow up without constantly being worried about your care.
Get a life. Your life should not revolve around your kids. You have to have your own interests and activities. If you make your life revolve around them, it will eventually create a situation where your children feel guilty about living their own lives. As they grow up and move out, you will find yourself consumed with sadness because caring for them is all your know. Finding joy in life outside of your kids is so important.
Live your own dreams. The best way to raise healthy kids who can confidently pursue their dreams is for you to pursue your own. A big mistake that many parents make is putting all their dreams on hold to raise their children and then imposing their personal dreams on their kids. I know pursuing your dreams is not always easy, but you have to do it because your dreams cannot become theirs. Give them the space to have and live their own dreams.
BMWK parents, what are some decisions you’ve made that will benefit your children when they become adults.