Thanks to a visit with her grandson, Jolene Philo learned 8 parenting truths she wished she'd known when her children were young.

Photo Credit: Catherine Scott

Our first grandchild was born two years ago, and somewhere in the past few months he’s transformed from a baby into a charming toddler. I recently spent three delicious days playing with him while his parents and my husband tended to some weekend projects.

The long drive home gave me time to reflect upon how many parenting truths one small person could teach his grammy in such a short time. Several of them would have made a difference in how I parented our children way back the 1980s and 1990s. Since it’s too late for that, I’m passing them along for you to use in the here and now of 2014.

Parenting Truth #1: More Alike Than Different

The first parenting truth learned was this. Parenting kids with special needs is more like parenting typical kids than it is different. Both kinds of parenting takes a great deal of time and energy. Both require constant and continual sacrifices. Both are incredibly rewarding endeavors, as long as you’re good at the delayed gratification thing and can handle snot, slobber, pee, and poop.

Parenting Truth #2: Parenting Is a Young Person’s Game

Suffice it to say, I would not have survived three days with a toddler had I been in charge of meeting all his needs. Yes, we spent many hours together each day. But I did not change diapers, do laundry, feed him, or get up with him at night. Even so, it took me a day or two to recover after we arrived home. Parenting really is a young person’s game.

Parenting Truth #3: Appropriate Choice Is Essential

This is one of those parenting truths that requires translation. Here it is: I used manipulation rather than appropriate choice far too often during my parenting years.

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