Parenthood Redux – The Joys of Math Homework

This year I became a parent of a teenager, again.

In reading Naturalhigh’s blog and Dragonmommie’s comments on parenting, I began to reflect on my own efforts as a parent. Not only do I get to have 20-20 vision on how my parents raised me, but now I get to look back and see what I did wrong with my own children and see how I might be a better parent as a step-parent.

Being a step-parent isn’t quite the same as being the parent. This difference has its pluses and minuses. My kids naturally said I love you, gave hugs good night, and kisses goodbye. As a step-parent this must be earned and learned over time, if ever. I can hope that some day my step-child will come to love me as I am coming to love her, and that will in turn bring a level of affection I have with my own children. But I will not push it, I will let it come to me in due course.

On the plus side, I can choose to take on more or less responsibility for my step-daughter’s upbringing. According to the experts I should defer to mom or dad serious discipline issues and this is how her mother and I have agreed between us. But on less serious things I choose whether and how to respond and interact and this is where maybe I can learn a few things from my past.

I have mellowed with age, my buttons are harder to push (I think my kids wore the mechanism’s out), my reactions are more thoughtful, my knowledge of how damaging a poorly thought out response on my part could be is much greater than it was with my own children. All of this is a plus for me and for any relationship that might develop between us.

So, when I choose a course of parenting action I have the hindsight of 20+ years of parenting, 40+ years of reviewing how it was done to me, and 4 years of seeing the difference between how my ex-wife parented and how my new wife (much improved!) chooses to parent. I think it is going ok so far and I have learned a lot. Nonetheless, mistakes will be made, of that I am certain.

Oh, I forgot to mention the best part! I get to do math homework again! God, I hated math when I was their age. Yet for the third time in my life I have to say things like “math is  cool” and “don’t say you suck at math, you just need to figure out what you missed”! It worked on my first child, failed miserably on the second one, but hopefully it will once again work a miracle and turn a struggling math student into a math genius. 

In the mean time, in the privacy of the blogosphere here, let me just say “I hate math, I suck at it, I wish I didn’t have to take it again, especially at my age!”

Oh well, as a parent, we get the good and the bad, the easy and the hard, and we still  say, “thank you lord, give me some more!”

So, wish me luck, here we go again!

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~ by in2l on October 26, 2006.

5 Responses to “Parenthood Redux – The Joys of Math Homework”

  1. Thanks, IN2L,

    I am really enjoying this conversation, and glad that you are participating in it!

    For me, paremting isn’t so much a matter of knowing the “right thing to do” as it is being aware of that child as an individual and seeing what I can do as a parent that best encourages their growth and development towatds being all that they can be.

    Helping with homework is such a great way to get to know a kid. You get a real sense of how they think and how they learn.

    Oh, I suck at Math, too!

  2. Thanks for your visit and valued comment left on my page ‘bestthoughts’.
    It is nice to go through your blog. Nicely written. keep it up.

  3. very nice and hearty article on parenting!. I really enjoyed it

  4. Ahhh…I’m proud to say that I have experienced parenting, single parenting, step parenting and grandparenting and lived to tell the story…I also suck at math homework and always have! Stepfamilies only have about a 30% survival rate and I can easily see why–it’s just soooo complicated! I had the good fortune and unique priviledge of being a “residential step mother” (only about 2% of fathers have “custody” of their children), so that I raised 3 out of my husband’s 4 children along with my own. I consider my relationship with my step sons to be one of the greatest gifts in my life. It’s a very special role–not quite full parent; yet a clear sense of what is REALLY going that the bio parent doesn’t always see…stay with it–I’m in my first year of being tuition free after 15 years…and NO MORE math (my grandchildren are too young)!

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