There is no question that my readers are some of the most devoted and passionate parents out there. I feel lucky to be able to connect every day with such thoughtful and loving folks home always put their children first.
It’s easy however, when we put so much focus on our children to forget that they are not an extension of us, but their own unique person. When we look at our children as a way to achieve dreams that we wished we had, it can lead to a variety of problems and stresses on our children. Trying to live vicariously through your kid, or trying to keep your child from following in your footsteps both can lead to a great deal of frustration.
Sometimes we want to protect our children so much, we forget that just as much as our successes help mold us into the wonderful people we are today, it’s also our failures that have taught us how to improve and be stronger people.
When we don’t allow our children to make their own mistakes, or navigate through their world at their own pace it not only puts a great deal of stress and pressure on the child, but us as parents. We can begin to feel resentment when our child goes astray or makes a wrong choice. We have to remember that learning to make choices on their own is a very important part of becoming an adult. Sometimes our children can make downright bizarre choices, but this should not become a source of embarrassment for the child or the parent, nor should it always be an appropriate time for punishment, it can be a time to open a dialogue about making tough decisions, and sharing your family values.
Whatever the cases, when we just view our children as an extension of ourselves and not their own unique person I sense of ownership can cloud our parental decisions. Of course we are responsible for guiding our children, caring for them, and making sure they are well taken care of, but throughout our extremely busy schedules we have to remember that our children are not ourselves. Our children have their own hopes and dreams, they also have their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. Our children have their own interests, dislikes, and their own unique ways of handling their problems.
I sometimes liken parenting to training a fighter. Our children need to know that we love and support them, they need our guidance as much as they need our acceptance. When it comes to life however, our training can only take them so far. They have to learn from their time in the ring. Some mistakes they will learn from immediately, others they might need our help to figure out what went wrong. As their trainers though, we help pick them back up and teach them a new plan of attack. We teach them to adapt and move on, to stick and move. This is the key to making them successful on their own.
In the end, and sometimes the scariest part, we really have to let our children live their own life, their own way. We can have hopes and dreams for them but we have to remember as they grow older, they form their own aspirations that might not necessarily line up with ours. No matter the case, it’s not our job to dictate their every move, as a parent it’s our job to be cheering the loudest for them and always be in their corner.