Please! Our three sons would be the first to tell you that I certainly didn't get it all right when it came to child-rearing. None of us do. It is a learn as you go deal. More often than not, your experiences prepare you better and better for the children that come later and later. Chances are Offspring Number Six is going to be pretty laid back and accustomed to going with the flow, because Mom and Dad have learned before his arrival that most situations are not the end of the world or life-threatening! Mom and Dad have learned to lick off the pacifier that falls on the floor and they've learned that baby will be fine if he sits in a dirty diaper a little longer than anyone wants...including baby!
Offspring Number One is probably pretty tightly wound, a perfectionist and a typical Type A personality. Furthermore, he's more than likely that way because his parents were just learning how to be parents. To put it bluntly...the firstborn is the guinea pig! Mom and Dad learned with him; they experimented on their first. Number One probably grew up pretty fast, being the only one around for a while, because his parents expected great things of him. The strategies that worked well for them as parents of One got stored away for siblings that came after. The things that didn't turn out so great with the firstborn got discarded from their parenting portfolio and Mom and Dad moved on ~ Hopefully they were on the look out for something healthier to tuck away in the tool box for the brothers and sisters influencing the family dynamics farther down the road.
We all live through it...some survive better than others who have dealt with tragedy and abuse that no kid should ever have to experience. Most of us get away with just a few scars and inherited dysfunction that we then might pass on to the next generation! A few of us become aware of the dysfunction and with God's help, break the chains of unhealthy parenting or addiction or whatever got passed down to us.
The point is this: we are never going to be perfect at this parenting stuff. We need to learn to look to those who have come before, glean from their successes the finer points of parenting, trust our hearts because God speaks to us there, and ask forgiveness when we fail our children. Unfortunately, it is a fact of life: we will fail them somehow, sometime in the long haul.
It's a learning process for all of us. However, if we seek to do our best, we can look back and have few regrets, and look forward to generations of meaningful relationships and treasured memories. That's what it's really all about after all.