Have you ever asked yourself why you wanted to be a parent?
“Why Did You Become a Parent?” That is the title of Chapter 2 in the book The Power of a Parent’s Words by Norm Wright. I took a class from Norm Wright a long time ago, he was an excellent teacher.
How would you answer that question, “Why did you become a parent”?
My guess is that most would say, “Because that’s the thing to do. You get marry, you have kids.”Â I never thought much about why I wanted to have kids. From reading the book, I see how our motivation affects what kind of parent we are.
The book suggests 4 motives for becoming a parent:
1. Ego – what we hope to get out of children and parenthood. “I want to feel fulfilled”, or “I want a child to carry on the family name.”
2. Compensation – make up for a lack in our lives. “It’ll make my marriage happier”, or “It’ll make up for my own unhappy childhood.”
3. Conformity – it’s the thing to do. “All our friends have kids”, or “People are always asking when we’ll have kids.”
4. Affection – ready to pour love and affection into a life. “I want a real opportunity to make someone happy,” or “I want to see someone grow and develop.”
Which motive do you identify with?
No matter what your motives were for becoming a parent, it doesn’t have to determine what kind of parent you are. Being aware is the first step to counter-acting any unhealthy natural tendencies.
I’ve always wanted to be a mother since I was a little girl. My motivation was pretty selfish – I thought it’d be fun to be the boss! But now that I really am the parent, it’s not quite what I thought it would be!
Knowing my motivation allows me to parent more intentionally. Instead of thinking that I am the boss in charge here, I am working on being less bossy, more patient, and being a student of my kids to appreciate their individuality.Â It’s not just about having fun or being the boss.
There is a higher goal to achieve as a parent. Norm Wright writes this general goal of parenting:
To empower our children to become mature and to release them to become independent from us and dependent on God.
We would be heading the right direction if we begin acting on this goal.
Why did you become a parent?