What Does Being an Involved Parent Mean to You?

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article in a parenting magazine that troubled me. The title of the article was, “How to be an Involved Parent.”

The writer described how she spent countless hours driving her kids to events, lessons, and activities. She said that she spent every waking hour doting on her kids. She admitted that it was tiring and she had little time care for herself or to do anything else.

She goes on to write:

“If I have to cancel a date night with my husband to take my child to a birthday party, I’ll do it because that’s what being an involved parent is about. Right?”

I’m not sure that spending every waking moment tending to your kids and sacrificing your relationship with your spouse is the best way to be an involved parent. I’ll agree that parenting requires some sacrifices. My wife and I have changed our plans in order to accommodate our children, but we don’t make it a habit.

Nurturing your marriage is just as important as nurturing your children. I have seen many “involved parents” become divorced parents because they were unable to relate to each other after the kids left home.

I’ve also seen many single parents become depressed after the kids left home because they never bothered to meet their own needs or develop interests outside of their children.

Worst of all, I’ve seen teenagers break their parents’ hearts because of their natural desire to break free from their parents and become independent young adults.

I can understand the desire to pour yourself into your kids. Many of us grew up in households where we received very little parental involvement. But I think the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction.

It is possible to be involved in our children’s lives without losing ourselves in the process. In order to be involved parents that our children need, we have take some time away from them to recharge and nurture ourselves.

What are your thoughts on this topic? What does being an involved parent mean to you?

Stay Strong,

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About the author
Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at fjgoodall@mochadad.com or on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mochadad
  1. Balance is so important and so many people seem to be missing it. I think our job is to provide guidance, structure, leadership and values so that our children can grow up and become productive members of society.

  2. My mom was an involved parent, but she experienced a similar hurting when I decided to move out. We had become more than mother & daughter, we were best friends. Most of her activities were my activities so when I was done, she was sort of wondering what to do. It’s definitely important for parents to have their own lives outside of their children.

  3. I have the rather at least unusual situation of having 2 kids who are far apart in my age, they are 19 and 6. I can definitely say in now almost 20 years of parenting there has been a shift. I feel many of us go way too overboard in being involved and it can backfire. I did that with my youngest, in part it was the messages I received from other parents and guilt about all that I could not do for my firstborn. The result was my marriage became very shaky, sure in the first 1-2 yrs you have to give pretty much all to the babies but as they grow its important to have a life of your own. I see this now with my eldest who is a college sophomore, this past summer I just assumed he would be home all summer when in fact he had made plans and financed them on his own, I was initially hurt then I stepped back, he’s 19! Of course she should be having fun!

    I worry about so many parents who seem to singularly live to be mothers and give it their all never realizing the goal is to raise well rounded healthy humans who do leave the nest. That means we need to make sure we keep our interests and desires in mind too!

  4. I have the rather at least unusual situation of having 2 kids who are far apart in my age, they are 19 and 6. I can definitely say in now almost 20 years of parenting there has been a shift. I feel many of us go way too overboard in being involved and it can backfire. I did that with my youngest, in part it was the messages I received from other parents and guilt about all that I could not do for my firstborn. The result was my marriage became very shaky, sure in the first 1-2 yrs you have to give pretty much all to the babies but as they grow its important to have a life of your own. I see this now with my eldest who is a college sophomore, this past summer I just assumed he would be home all summer when in fact he had made plans and financed them on his own, I was initially hurt then I stepped back, he’s 19! Of course she should be having fun!

    I worry about so many parents who seem to singularly live to be mothers and give it their all never realizing the goal is to raise well rounded healthy humans who do leave the nest. That means we need to make sure we keep our interests and desires in mind too!

  5. I am SO with you! My relationship with my husband is key to the relationships with my children. He is more important to my future than they are. Not that I love them less! Just differently. They are a part of me and never do me wrong. But he and I have to MAKE our love continue, and it therefore requires more concentrated attention. Marriage, myself, then the kids. That’s how my priorities lie. They don’t always work out that way, but the kids can’t be happy if Mom and Dad aren’t, right?