The idea of “serenity parenting” apparently has been published before, as referenced as a part of “Twin Research” in an article from the Wall Street Journal. Read this article! It is precisely what we often try to tell parents.
Parents should lighten up. I call it “Serenity Parenting”: Parents need the serenity to accept the things they cannot change, the courage to change the things they can, and (thank you twin research) the wisdom to know the difference. Focus on enjoying your journey with your child, instead of trying to control his destination. Accept that your child’s future depends mostly on him, not your sacrifices. Realize that the point of discipline is to make your kid treat the people around him decently—not to mold him into a better adult. I can’t say that I completely convinced my wife on any of these points, but we made reasonable compromises—and we found that raising twins was a lot of fun.
This is very similar to what we try to say in our book Love Another Child. We addressed the “high strung” parent who lashes out at the child. We see it all the time, but it usually is not the fault of the child. We mentioned the Serenity Prayer in Chapter 8, “Loving Your Child.” After explaining a difficult situation between a mother and her son, we run through a number of different ways to handle it. Here’s how it is in the book:
We have a solution, and, as with marriage, it has everything to do with love. For us, the Twelve Step Process prayer works miracles. It’s called the Serenity Prayer, and it is prayed by millions of Alcoholics Anonymous members around the world. It’s a beautiful prayer by Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr:
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
This is a most profound way to show our love to our children. Like with our spouses, we should become students of them. Know them. Find the things that are easy to love and help them grow. There are those things we must discipline, but the example above is sorely in error. This parent has shut off any positive aspect of Tommy, as well as any potential solution.
We like this idea of “Serenity Parenting.” How about you?