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The Two Things I Want Parents to Know on National Parents’ Day

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Dr. Meg Meeker

I consider every day an opportunity to recognize and uplift parents, but since today is National Parents’ Day, I wanted to officially applaud you, parents. You are doing a great job. It might not feel like it today, but trust me, you are.

Something I often say is that parenting should be simple. If you get the big things right, the rest will fall into place. Don’t worry about being the perfect parent. Focus on loving your child and being present with him. If you do that, you will raise not only a great kid but a kid who will become a great adult someday.

Focus on loving your child and being present with him. If you do that, you will raise not only a great kid but a kid who will become a great adult someday.

On this Parents’ Day, give yourself a break and remember these two important things:

Get the big stuff right.

Don’t let social media and comparison trick you into caring too much about the little things. Where your child goes to kindergarten, what types of activities she will be involved in, how perfect her third birthday party will be—these are not big things, these are small things.

Social media will convince you that you are not being a good parent if your life does not look like a perfect photo on Instagram. But parents, this is a trap, and it will distract you from what really matters. What your child actually needs from you is not the perfect craft activity or the perfect homemade, organic cookies. He needs your love and your attention and he needs to know that you love him. If you show him this and tell him this, you have done your job.

Be kind to yourself.

As parents, we tend to dwell on the mistakes we’ve made with our kids. How we’ve yelled at them or punished them too harshly. Or we worry that we are unintentionally doing something to them that will mess them up for years to come.

Parents, I hope that at least for today, you can let go of your mistakes and be kind to yourself. You will not be a perfect parent, and that’s not what you’ve been called to be. You are simply called to love your child, and as humans, we all love imperfectly.

You will not be a perfect parent, and that’s not what you’ve been called to be. You are simply called to love your child, and as humans, we all love imperfectly.

Kids actually love to forgive. They are often better at it than we are. If you’ve really messed up, tell your child that and watch how open she is to forgiving you. This might help you forgive yourself. If you need it, sit down and write a list of all of the things you’ve done well as a parent. This will help remind you that you are doing a great job and it will keep you from focusing on the negative.

My hope for you, parents, is that you always feel uplifted, supported and recognized, even when it’s not National Parents’ Day. Be kind to yourself, focus on the big stuff, ask for forgiveness if you need it. Even if you don’t believe this, I will tell it to you again and again: You are doing a great job and you are raising a great kid.

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