Updated: Mar 29
Here is a question to you.
How many years did you have to go through formal training, education or apprenticeship for your current job or role? How many years did it take you to become a professional in your job?
How many tests/exams did you had to take? How many interviews did you have to pass?
A lot, right?
Think about driving.
Can you just wake up one day and decide that you will buy a car and start driving?
Of course not! (Are you out of your mind, Kumsal??)
When you decide to buy a car, the first thing you need to do, is to learn how to drive.
In North American countries, for instance, there is a graduated licensing system for new drivers. First, you have study the theory and you get a learner permit after passing a written exam in the US or G1 license in Canada. Only after accumulating certain amount of road experience and fulfilling other conditions, and passing a road test you can become a full G driver in the US. In Canada, it's even tougher. You have to pass two road tests to become a full G! I fully support this graduated system as none of us wants a maniac on the road without the proper training and endangering themselves as well as putting everyone's safety at risk.
How about... parenting?
What happens when you decide to have a baby?
Well, nothing basically. You are free to have one. No one asks you anything.
You are free to do whatever you feel is right for your family whenever you feel like and that's awesome.
Do you need a PhD in Child Development or Childhood Education? No -- I can hear you say: Don't be silly, Kumsal.
Any tests? Trainings? Mandatory workshops?
Not that I know.
The fact that you decide to become a parent and conceive is enough to “become” a parent (most of the time*)
There is no such thing as mandatory parenting training or a qualifying exam to become a biological parent. Also as Dr. Mariko Estrada puts it: “There is no manual for being a parent out there, you wish that there was one, unfortunately one can only wish.”
Raising a child is one of the most important and complicated tasks in the world. Yet, the most undertrained one.
If you look around, of course there are thousands of parenting educational resources, books, courses out there that you can use. But my point is, all of that is voluntary. No one requires you to do so.
What do you think about this fact?
The fact that, we have to get trained rigorously for years, to practice our jobs, go through exams and interviews... The fact that it takes years to get a driver's license. But no training whatsoever for new parents...
I always found this fact quite interesting. Mind blowing actually.
How come we can jump into this important, complex and daunting job while being so under prepaid and under trained…
You might argue saying, "well this kind of training is not really needed, as parents somehow know what to do, mothers-know-it kind of thing?"
or that they learn,
or they get help...
Yes, in a certain extend I agree with you. A parent knows. A parent figures out.
But what if they are not the most introspective and psychologically-oriented parents out there? What if they are not in a good mental health state? What if they have a undiagnosed mental illness or personality disorder?
What if we, as parents, traumatize our child, without knowing and with all the good intentions?
How do we deal with this fact as a grown-up; being traumatized, abused or neglected as a child and all that pain?
(I can give you a clue, years and years of suffering and therapy can be a start...)
How do we still keep our relationship with our parents?
(maybe through acceptance and forgiveness after long years of therapy... or maybe not. We become estranged.)
What if we are the culprit and what if we are traumatizing our children UNKNOWINGLY with all our good intentions?
Was that too much to take in.
So I try once more.
Imagine. What if years later my daughter comes up to me and says that I have traumatized her, neglected her in some way and that she doesn't want to have me in her life anymore, because of what I have done and she doesn't know how to deal with all the pain and the disappointment I caused for her.
What if we become estranged, after me being such a "good" parent to her for years...
Can I just say to her "hey, I didn't mean that" or "get over it sweetie, what's done is done, move on"? Would that work?
Would it be enough to tell her "oh, there was no parenting school honey back in the day, so that's not really my fault. I did my best"
Would any of these excuses will help