That’s the plain truth according to parents from the Chicagoland area. Whether raising an infant, toddler, preteen, or teenager, the role of a parent or caretaker has become a much more complicated task. Dealing with issues like tantrums, long working hours, technology-absorbed children and adults, teens that think they know it all, and the increasing loss of values, many times parents find themselves wanting to escape from the task at hand. But even then, most parents are willing to face the challenge of raising their children, with everything that comes with it. No matter what, the love for their children makes parents want to take on this Love Challenge!
We went out and asked real parents and caretakers two questions: What is the biggest challenge of being a parent? And, What is the best part of it?
This is what they had to say, and I’m sure we’ll all be able to relate to at least one of them.
Many parents can feel overwhelmed by what they see as their responsibility to their community. Take for instance Juana who says: “Being a parent is a challenging task. We have to raise kids which are going to be a part of our society in a positive way.” Maria also expressed: “If only they came with a manual. Our job (as parents) is not just sending them to school and feeding them, our role as parents goes way beyond that.”
Others tackle the daily learning experience of the “new parent” and the effect it can have in the marriage relationship. Luz shared: “It’s not easy. (It’s) fun but stressful, joyful, and each day brings a new challenge that sometimes goes beyond just the kids, but also into our marriage. This is the hardest career one can have because of the many surprises that will come with it.” She encourages parents, “Do the best you can to enjoy your children and show them your love.”
Others deal with matters of the mind and heart of independent and outspoken teenagers. Juan says: “One of my biggest challenges is being (very) patient, especially when they think they know everything. It’s hard! But at the same time it’s beautiful because God gave us the privilege of being parents to our kids and to guide them the best way possible.” While many, and I mean many, deal with the “busy lifestyle” and the fact that technology has come to reshape the way we live and interact with each other. Catalina said this about her biggest challenge: “Playing catch-up with our own children due to our busy lives. As well as making sure to engage with the kids in this technological world! No iPad, iPod, cell, text, Netflix, Wii, leapfrog or anything else!” Ana shares a similar view: “It’s very difficult with a 15 yr old and a 12 year old and today’s technology. I wonder what awaits me with my youngest kids who are 4 and 1 yrs old.”
Elizabeth brought up another important view: “(Raising kids) is a blessing. There are so many kids being raised by grandparents, relatives or society and not by parents.”
Benny shared a challenge that many face, “The most challenging for me as a single mom in this economy, is the amount of time I spend away from my boy working everyday crazy hours to bring enough (money) home to pay the rent and cover the bills. But the best is when at the end of the day I get hugs, kisses and ‘I love you’ from my precious angel.”
Another challenge parents expressed was when it comes to beliefs and values. This is what Esmeralda had to say: “Being able to adapt your morals to today’s changing world/society; being able to raise your children to be open-minded and respectful of others while teaching them to be firm in their beliefs and have some kind of spirituality in this many times Godless world. The best part is, knowing you are raising adults with empathy, who will be productive, happy members of society. That’s my goal at least.”
Karina mentioned another challenge: “Setting a good example.” Susana supported that statement saying: “It’s impressive how they learn from our own actions. Parents, let’s set a good example because they’re watching us.”
Juan shared something that seemed to resonate with most parents: “We weren’t born knowing how to be parents, but that was the challenge we accepted when we decided to become parents. It’s a wonderful blessing.” Rayo summed it up to: “It’s difficult, crazy! But I wouldn’t change it.”
In conclusion, being a parent is definitely an every day challenge. It’s not an easy task, and there is no such thing as the perfect parent. But we can all learn and strive to be better parents! There are no manuals, but there are tools available to us. So take on the challenge and invest in who matters most.
If you’re up to the challenge, we invite you to participate in our Love Challenge Family Conference on Saturday April 27 from 9am to 3pm, at Carpentersville Middle School in Carpentersville, IL. Enjoy a day of fun and learning with engaging speakers, dynamic workshops, games, food, and much more! There are separate activities for teens, children, single adults, parents, and couples. Admission is FREE, with tickets you can get by registering at www.familybridgeschicago.org or 877-412.7434. The conference is delivered in both English and Spanish.
Enrich the relationship with your spouse, family, and community. At the end of the day, it’s what really matters!