Becoming a parent provides a new mindset to life. All the sudden everything is about another person, not yourself. It can be overwhelming at times. You feel like you have no time to focus on yourself. However, what you may not realize is while you are focusing on being a parent, you are becoming a better person without even realizing it. Let’s talk about 10 ways being a parent makes you a better person.
1. They make you try to fix your bad habits.
When you become a parent you don’t want to teach your child to do all the negative things you do. But if you have a bad habit, your child will be quick to notice and ask you about it. It brings a whole new light to how often you curse or yell or whatever your less than pleasant habit is. Children mirror the things they see. How many times have we witnessed or heard a small child cuss and everyone knows where the word came from?
This isn’t to say having some bad habits makes you a bad parent. It doesn’t, it makes you human. But having children somehow makes you want to have less of the bad habit. It is amazing how you can know all your life you shouldn’t be doing something and keep doing it. But the minute a three-year-old does the exact same thing, the need to change hits you like a truck.
2. They remind us to see how amazing the little things are.
I wish I enjoyed anything as much as children enjoy the small things. My son gets so unbelievably excited just to go outside and walk around. As we grow, we become weighed down by the “important” things. We forget that the small things are the important things. Being a parent allows you to see the world through a child’s eyes to remind you of this.
Being able to sit down every evening with your family and have dinner may seem like a little thing. Even a chore if you are the one making it. But it really isn’t a little thing, it is a big thing. All that time you are getting to spend and grow closer with your family is a gift. Someday you won’t have those people surrounding you and you will wish you could have just one more time you could sit down with them. Children remind us to not take these little things for granted.
3. They let you find out what true, unconditional love is.
By the time you are a parent you have likely loved several people. You might think that you understood love before. Parental love is a whole different type of love. It is amazing to me how from the moment you find out about a child coming into your life you instantly know you would do anything for them. Whether that is becoming pregnant or finding out you get the opportunity to love a child who is already born, you know you will love that child more than life itself.
This child may turn out to be nothing like you. They will press every button you have, and find new ones you did not know about to push. Yet you will love them more every second of it. It doesn’t matter if they get mad at you. Or if they become teenagers and tell you they don’t like you anymore. You would still sacrifice everything for their happiness and well-being. It is incredible to experience this true, unconditional love.
4. They show us how easy forgiveness can be.
When you point out that a child is doing something wrong they may not like it, but they get over it very quickly. Point out something to an adult and you might want to brace yourself for them to not communicate with you the same way for some time. Children have not been conditioned to hold grudges when someone hurts their feelings. They learn that from adults as they grow older. Children do not let their self-pride get in the way of their relationships with others.
We should really use this lesson from children more often. When they get something taken away from them, they get mad and they move their focus to something else. They don’t stay angry with the situation or person. They accept it, forgive, and move forward. If adults could start doing more of this, everyone would likely be a lot happier. If we could let go of our stubborn pride and focus on forgiveness and acceptance like children do, maybe we could find the simple joy they also possess.
5. They provide endless amounts of genuine laughter.
Children are endlessly entertaining. Watching them explore the world around them and trying to communicate their experiences is one of the most amusing things. They see things in a unique way. They express themselves without a filter. Sometimes this might cause them to do things that embarrass you, but even that is funny.
When you hear a child laugh about something so simple and silly you cannot help but to genuinely laugh right along with them. No matter how bad your day is, once you hear your child start giggling, it gets better. If you pay attention to your child and observe how they interact with their world, you will have endless laughter, from both amusement and joy.
6. They give you newfound strength.
When you become a parent, you also develop some sort of super human emotional strength. You may have not been able to handle a lot of stress before, but now you somehow find a way to get through it. Whatever your child needs, you find the strength to make sure they get. When your child needs you to be strong for them after a day where you feel like all you have has been drained, you are able to.
You may not have had a confrontation with anyone before, but once someone decides to endanger your child you will have absolutely no problem with confrontation in that moment. You will defend and fight for your child to whatever extent it takes. Children bring out the hero in every parent. They unlock the secret strength you had inside all along. It is like you just needed a reason to let it out.
7. They change your perspective on differences.
It is difficult for an adult to come to an understanding of the way someone else views a situation. We like to think our way is the best way and we get stuck in that. But when you have a child and they start to develop their own personalities you have to adapt that line of thinking. Most parents want their child to develop independence. Part of being independent is allowing children to make some decisions for themselves. You have to accept that you may not always agree with those decisions.
When it is your child you are having differences with, it makes it easier to not go on the attack over it. You learn that a person having a different way of thinking does not make them a bad person. That you can still love and respect someone who believes differently than you. If you take this lesson and apply it to other people in your life, you will go a long way with solving disagreements.
8. They make all your other family relationships stronger.
When you have a child with a person you begin to love them not just for who they are, but for the way they love your child. It creates a deeper bond. Your parents become your child’s grandparents and all the sudden you understand what all they went through all those years. You get to have a different type of connection with them. Your siblings can become an extra support to your immediate family. Their kids are some of your kids’ first friends. The connections are endless.
Children also cause your relationships with your in-laws to be cemented. You likely cared about one another because you share love for the same person before. But now you played a 50 percent part in giving them someone they love more than anything. You have helped to add tremendous love to their family. This creates a new level of connection between your families.
9. They keep you continually learning.
Just when you think you cannot possibly learn anything more, you become a parent and you get to start learning everything all over. You think third grade wasn’t too hard, then you help your nine-year-old and realize you do not know half of what you thought you did. You get a refresher course on all the stuff you already learned, plus some additional information. But that is not all.
Technology has changed the way social interactions work with children. You get to learn how the younger generation communicates. What they think is important or popular. You get to navigate through your child learning what their interests are. Whatever they decide to form an interest in, you get to become an expert in. You may have not played baseball yourself, but all the sudden you will be questioning umpires’ calls. Be prepared.
10. They help you cultivate lifelong friendships.
In a few short years your children will be adults. They will not need you to make their choices and meet all their needs. I have a young son and I think about this often with sadness. That someday he won’t need his mommy when he is upset. But then I realize I will get to have a lifelong friend. When you think of being a parent in terms of building a lifelong friendship, it motivates you to want to help your child become someone you respect. It helps make teaching the hard lessons a little easier.
My mom is one of my best friends. We may not agree on a lot of things but I know we will always be not just parent-child, but friends who enjoy doing things together and sharing our lives’ experiences. We have learned to adapt to approaching our relationship as a friendship at times. We give each other reciprocal advice and support. As your child gets older, you get to develop your ever-evolving friendship with them and their siblings.
Parenting is an incredibly rewarding experience. When you think about all the benefits it is bringing to you as a person, it makes it even more unbelievable. There is really no better motivation for becoming a better person than your child.
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