“I’m Ethan, Jonathan’s father”. That’s how I introduce myself at every parent night. It’s always bothered me when other parents introduce themselves only as “Dylan’s mother” or “Jonathan father”. Stating my own name before announcing whose father I am, symbolic though it is, is a statement. We’re not just someone’s parents; we’re people in our own right. Putting kids’ needs at the center causes a warped view of the family wherein parents and their needs are shoved aside, treated merely as a device via which the welfare of the child is achieved, and that can be used without giving it any special attention of its own. But it’s OK for parents ― who after all are adults first ― to have things that are important to them other than parenting. A parent is a romantic partner who aspires to a satisfying and fulfilling couple relationship; s/he is a daughter or son who is sharing the joys and woes of “raising parents”; s/he is a wage-earner, which if s/he is fortunate intersects with self-actualization; s/he is a friend and leads a social life; s/he engages in hobbies, and so forth.Can a family allow more than one of its members to be the center of attention?
Does it not make sense that both the child and the parent jointly merit support and encouragement? I believe the answer is yes. Instead of a narrow, rigid view of space for only one ― either the child or the parent ― at the family’s center, I propose relating to the family as an oval with two foci: the child-with-parent, and the parent-with-child.
A Must Book for Every Parent