Hard Now, Easy Later

If you’ve ever worked with a child who has been injured because of violence or abuse or been a part of untangling the chaos and dysfunction that gave birth to the pain, you understand why preventing the injury is a passionate quest.

Trouble is that eliminating child abuse, or the prevention of child abuse, can seem so amorphous that most turn away feeling that the goal is unattainable and this just isn’t true.  The goal is unattainable if we only focus our attention on healing the children who have already suffered the consequences of violence.

I’ve had the privilege of watching parents from many different backgrounds practice the theory of “hard now, easy later.”  I call it intentional parenting.  The parents don’t all have fancy educations or big bank accounts but they all seem to have several characteristics in common.  First and foremost they understand that parenting and their relationship with their child is active.  They understand that children require boundaries, attention and that one size does not fit all.

They understand that even when they are busy, tired or struggling with their own issues, they cannot forget that parenting is a building process.  They understand that, even though the responsibility can sometimes feel overwhelming, the parenting job is one that can’t be avoided.  Avoiding gets you nowhere.  In fact, it makes whatever you were trying to avoid even worse.  The idea is to work hard and realize that the hard work of parenting, with a little luck on your side as well, will grow the child into a productive well-adjusted adult.  Do the hard work now, and the easy part – watching your adult child thrive in this world – comes later.

Hard now, easy later.

This may look really different from family to family but the outcome is almost always worth the effort.  The positive outcomes are contagious.  The families are developing children who will impact hundreds of others in their lifetime.  We end child abuse family by family and child by child.


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