Relationships and Rules and Parenting

If you are a parent or grandparent, you know there are plenty of rules for raising kids. Today, let’s consider why ignoring these rules can sometimes be a good idea.

Some years ago, in his book, How to Parent, Dr. Fitzhugh Dodson said that, “Raising a child is a human relationship, and human relationships cannot be reduced to a set of rules.” There is an inherent truth in that statement.

Rules are only guidelines, and both you and your child are unique. Each of you is a product of a special combination of genes and environment that has never existed before. What’s more, you have a special relationship with each of your children that is different from the relationship of any other two people on this planet.

Try to avoid the mistake of trying to fit this relationship into any preconceived idea of what it is “supposed to be” like. Refrain from dogmatically following a set of rules, even when the rules are written by a so-called “expert.” (Remember, expertise does not mean “perfection.”) And, refrain from trying to force your child to conform to someone else’s idea of what she or he should be.

The most important thing you can do for your children or grandchildren is to offer them stability, guidance and support while they explore, and learn to realize, the unique potential self which is unfolding within them.

You can reinforce their efforts to achieve worthwhile goals. You can set reasonable limits. You can remain flexible. But most of all, you can make sure they know that you recognize them and respect them for the goodness that resides within each of them.