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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
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Parenting: Lovingly Making Mistakes

March 2005


The toughest job you will ever have is being a parent. I have often wished for a crystal ball so that I know the right thing to do for my child. I remember when my oldest was a baby wishing that I could know what he needed, what I could do to make him happy and healthy.


Now, as he enters the teen years and I have a second one, I am still wishing that I had all the wisdom necessary to know what are the right choices to make sure that my children grow up to be healthy adults. I know that my husband and I will not always make the right choices. I know that sometimes we down right make mistakes, but we still keep trying. Our philosophy is that if we surround them with enough love, consistency and healthy limits, perhaps we will get them to adulthood intact without too many emotional wounds inflicted on them.

So, why am I writing this? In the last couple of days I have seen several different styles of parenting that differ from ours, some of which have raised concerns for me. One of the hardest things that I have done as a parent is to allow my children to make mistakes and suffer the consequences. I want to keep them safe and happy at all times. But that is not realistic. I know, as a parent, an adult and a therapist that the best lessons that I have learned is from the mistakes that I have made. But to sit back and watch my child mess up and get in trouble for it, is very difficult. But you know what? He learns that way! And he doesn’t make the same mistake again. Well, not too many more times anyway! Protecting a child from life teaches them that they will always have their way. Now, we all know that that is not true. But to learn how to deal with life, that is a gift that we can give our children. So, here is my declaration for my children: I will always love you and I will help you deal with the lessons that life throws at you. You can count on always having a safe haven in my arms. I love you.


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