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Recently I had the privilege to observe a group of parents discussing parenthood. This experience was very illuminating for me, as I always find that different people resolve similar problems in very creative ways. At one point, one of the mothers made an inquiry about a dilemma she had; one which unsurprisingly was shared by others within the same group. She asked the facilitator what she should do if son wants to eat before doing his homework. The response was quite straightforward. “Why is it important?” What I found very interesting was this woman’s reaction, “because I know I must never allow the child to think he has the upper hand”. That to me was fascinating. My mind immediately raced to the many parents I know, who are always consumed by this very dilemma. It is my observation that parenthood is often understood in terms of control. Make no mistake a level of control is essential in parenthood. A parent must always be in control of the conditions of child rearing, but not controlling of the child. Remember my very first blog, where I explained that the role of the parent is to create adults through loving and nurturing care. The dilemma is not relevant in terms of whether eating comes first, but this question reaches an entirely new level when the parent attempts to teach responsibility through this problem. The child can begin his training in making choices and understand that the work must be done at some point. This is controlling the conditions and we use every day experiences as parents to teach profound elements of adult life.

– steve@willingness.com.mt