Recognizing our parents’ efforts in raising us can sometimes be challenging, especially when we’re often clouded by expectations and frustrations.
But here’s the truth: our parents are human, they make mistakes. Yet, most of them did the best they could with what they had.
In this article, I’ll share with you 9 signs that your parents did their best, allowing you to acknowledge their efforts and maybe even give them a little more credit.
Because at the end of the day, parenthood doesn’t come with a manual, does it?
1) Unconditional love
One of the most important signs that your parents did their best is the presence of unconditional love.
Parents who loved us no matter what, even when we messed up, showed us the most profound form of affection. They might have been upset, disappointed, or frustrated with our actions, but their love never wavered.
This kind of consistent love forms the foundation of a stable upbringing. It gives us the confidence to explore, take risks, and learn from our mistakes without fear of rejection or abandonment.
Sure, they might have had unusual ways of showing it sometimes, and it may not have always felt like love. But remember, they were navigating this journey of parenthood without a roadmap.
2) They supported your interests
In my own experience, the support I received from my parents played a crucial role in shaping who I am today.
I remember when I first told them I wanted to become a writer – it was far from the stable career they had envisioned for me. But instead of dismissing my dream, they encouraged it.
They bought me books, sent me to writing workshops, and patiently read every story I wrote. Even when I doubted myself, they never stopped believing in my potential.
It wasn’t always easy for them, and there were times when they questioned if they were doing the right thing. But their unwavering support gave me the courage to pursue my passion.
3) They taught you valuable life skills
One of the fundamental aspects of parenting is preparing children for adulthood. This often involves teaching them practical life skills.
Did your parents teach you how to cook, clean, do laundry, or manage money? These skills might seem basic, but they’re essential for independent living.
If your parents took the time to teach you these skills, it shows they were invested in your future and did their best to prepare you for the world.
4) They admitted when they were wrong
It’s not easy for anyone to admit when they’re wrong, especially for parents in front of their children. After all, parents are often seen as the figures of authority and wisdom.
But parents who can swallow their pride, admit their mistakes, and even apologize demonstrate a crucial aspect of parenthood: humility.
This behavior not only shows a commitment to personal growth but also teaches children the importance of owning up to their faults.
5) They prioritized your education
Education is often seen as the key to a successful future. Parents who prioritized your education, whether it was formal schooling or informal learning, showed their commitment to your future.
This doesn’t necessarily mean they pushed you to get straight A’s or attend the best colleges. Instead, they might have encouraged a love for learning, a curiosity about the world, and a commitment to self-improvement.
These values are crucial for personal growth and success in life.
6) They provided a safe and stable environment
This isn’t just about having a roof over your head or food on the table, though those are certainly important. It’s also about creating a home where you felt safe to express your feelings, where you knew you could always find support and understanding.
A stable environment is one where you feel secure, accepted and loved, no matter what’s happening outside those four walls.
7) They encouraged open communication
I remember growing up, my household was a place where we could voice our thoughts and feelings without judgment. This openness allowed for heartfelt conversations, deep understanding, and a strong bond between us.
My parents always emphasized the importance of open communication. They taught me that it’s okay to express my feelings, even when they’re negative or uncomfortable.
This has not only made me feel heard and understood as a child but has also played a significant role in how I communicate in my relationships today.
If your parents encouraged open communication, fostering a space where you could express yourself freely, that’s a testament to their efforts in doing their best.
8) They set healthy boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries is a crucial part of any relationship, including the one between parents and children.
Boundaries help us understand where we end and where others begin. They teach us respect for ourselves and others, and they guide our interactions with the world around us.
If your parents set clear, consistent boundaries and respected them, it shows their commitment to fostering a healthy family dynamic.
This approach might have seemed strict or unfair at times, but it was likely their way of teaching you respect and responsibility.
9) They showed resilience in the face of adversity
Life throws curveballs, and it’s not always smooth sailing. But it’s how we respond to these challenges that truly defines us.
Parents who face adversity head-on, who refuse to crumble under the weight of their problems, demonstrate resilience. This resilience is not only inspiring but also a valuable lesson for their children.
If your parents displayed strength and resilience in difficult times, they were teaching you one of life’s most important lessons: never give up.
This invaluable trait is a clear sign that they were doing their best, giving their all to provide for you and shape you into a resilient individual.
Final note: It’s about perspective
In the grand scheme of things, parenthood is a complex journey filled with triumphs, mistakes, joys, and struggles.
It’s important to remember that our parents are human. They were doing their best with the tools, knowledge, and resources they had at the time.
Psychologist Donald Winnicott coined the term “good enough parent” to describe parents who provide sufficiently for their children’s needs, even if they’re not perfect. According to Winnicott, being ‘good enough’ is more than enough.
Reflect on these signs and try to see your parents’ efforts through a lens of understanding and compassion. They too were once children, navigating their own complexities.
In the end, recognizing that our parents did their best, even if it didn’t always feel that way, allows us to find peace with our past and shape a healthier future.