Something I see often is parents saying one thing but doing another when it comes to making a decision between what they want for themselves and what’s best for their children. If you ask any parent what is the most important thing to them, they will answer “My kids” almost instantaneously. While I truly think that people believe this in their heart, they often don’t act that way. They talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. When it comes down to making this type of decision, the thing that is important to the parent often ends up taking priority over what is in the children’s best interest. To be blunt, parents in certain situations act selfishly and then try to rationalize it.
This is why one of my Ten Simple Rules for Being a Better Parent is “It’s Not About You Anymore”. Now, this is very difficult for a lot of people to swallow these days, because the first thing parents need to stop doing is acting selfishly. For example, my wife and I have a friend in his mid 40’s with a four-year-old son. This person loves music and plays in a band. He does a have a real job, and until recently the time he spent playing in the band could definitely be considered a hobby, which is good because we all need some Me Time. However, over the past year or so, this hobby has become more of a part-time job. In fact, he is booked nearly every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night for the entire summer. Now, if this were his full time job it would be one thing. Since it isn’t, what we have is a parent who is away at work all day during the week, and then every night during the weekend. As you can imagine, this is having an impact on his young son.
We as parents need to be able to step back and draw a bright line between Me Time and being selfish, because when we cross over and act selfishly our children know it, and that is not good parenting.