As a single father whose child came without an instruction manual, I constantly struggle to figure out what I am supposed to do when it comes to raising my daughter. To be sure, I do not hang out with couples with children who can help to educate me on what steps to take and when to take them. I usually seem to act with a response that is several steps behind her developmental stage and to be far too trepidacious in my actions. However, just when I start to think that I am a complete wreck as a parent, my daughter's actions and behavior tell me in clear terms that she is turning out quite well.
One area of being a parent that I have not yet mastered, in fact far from it, is how to give up trying to control everything. I don't like surprises and I am most at peace when things play out according to my narrowly defined script. Somehow I only seem to be able to keep my emotions in check when things happen or develop within an expected set of boundary conditions. However, as you can imagine, children have a way of doing things their own way, with their own logic, and their own sensibilities. A combination of one free-spirited child and one control freak of a father is like so much oil and water. A cohesive amalgamation it is not. I cannot grasp the notion of "go with the flow." With this said though, I am still making some degree of forward progress, though glacial flow may lead to the next ice age before I make a recognizable breakthrough.
One thing that I have consciously done to let loose of the reins a bit is to give my daughter complete charge of the T.V. remote control. I let her decide what we will watch and leave it up to her to make the choice to change the channel in the middle of the show that we are watching. She even gets to keep the remote on her side of the couch tucked under her pillow, well out of my reach. You think it is crazy for a guy to make this step? Yeah, I guess. But it is, for me, at least one small step forward.