Parenting: When does it stop?

Growing up, I had my fair share of reservations about my parents. I thought my mom was too strict, wicked really and I thought my dad was well, too mechanical. He showed no emotion toward anyone, not even my mom. I thought of running away from home so many times, if only I could really do that. I was too scared wondering where I would go and what I would do for survival. When I realized I would at least have to wait till I was eighteen years old to be rid of them, I began to look forward to going to university. But then, I never was able to escape their daunting responsibility toward me. Then I wanted to be married; perhaps it will free me of their rule, I thought. I would be free to speak, free to move as I pleased, free to progress at my own pace and not be afraid to make mistakes, free to be myself. Or so I thought. I only realized on my wedding day that I had actually grown to love my parents just the way they are. They are perfect for me because I am of the same stuff as they are and I was sure I could never love anyone as much as I love them.
Years later, after the wedding, after the children, I wish I still have my parents with me; telling me what to do so I wouldn’t make mistakes, teaching me how to speak so I won’t regret my words, taking full responsibility for my wellbeing and, making sure I stay happy and fulfilled always.
I realize now that whatever is destined for perfection will have to undergo rough times. My dad told me that it is necessary for iron to go through the hot furnace to become more useful. Those times I wished my dad would die and not return home or when I wished my mom could just love me; those days are long gone but not forgotten. I appreciate my parents now. I don’t want to imagine life without my dad. God forbid. I don’t want to imagine how the rest of my life will play out if I lose my mom now. My parents have become my bedrock of hope.
Now I am a parent, I adore my children yet I yell at them, I beat them, I punish them. It’s all part of a bigger picture to correct them and mold them into better people for themselves and the community. I hope they will thank me for this kind of strange love. More importantly, I will never leave them completely all the days of their lives as long as I am alive to any impending danger or anything that may cause deterioration to them in any way. I love my children and I will fight to keep them at arm’s length from harm.
Or am I being paranoid? When exactly is a parent to give up love, protection and prayers on their children, bearing in mind those years of struggling to pay school fees, struggling to put a meal on the table, crying and staying up all night when they were ill and the list goes on?
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