Do you ever find yourself anxiously thinking about your child's future: Who are they going to be, what's their purpose, will they be happy in the future, have you given them enough exposure to the world, are they going to disappoint or embarrass you? You start planning their extracurricular activities that will pave the way for the ivy league college you make them apply…I mean that they want to attend.
You get them tutors for their classes, not because they're failing, but, because you want them to be the best. You pay top dollar for STEM summer programs and music lessons. You feel like pushing…sorry, I mean guiding them in the "right" direction will ensure their success in the future, but it may not go the way you expected.
Children were not born to do what we want with them. They're not a blank canvas for us to paint our perfect picture. They were put on this earth with their own gifts, character traits, personalities, and destinies that will guide them to their purpose. They have no worries in this world until we push society's and our standards on them, telling them they're not good enough the way they are.
The above scenario is one I'm sure sounds all too familiar to most people. Their life was guided left (with the absolute best intentions) when they were meant to go right. They spend years unhappy, spending tons of money on self-help books and an education they don't find out wasn't a good fit until graduation. They waste so much time trying to figure out who they're meant to be all because their well-meaning parents were afraid of messing them up.
Instead of consciously parenting out of love, we parent out of fear–fear of changing who we are, being the same as our parents or being seen as a failure to society.
Our fears can hinder our children's self-expression, forcing them to either do things they think will make us happy or completely rebel. Either way, we're hurting them and treating them the same way we didn't want to be treated when we were kids.
FEAR OF CHANGE
When I had my daughter, the first thing I wanted to do was change. Change my habits, change my reactions, change my eating, and most of all change my views of who I wanted her to become. Parenting and living consciously was something I didn't realize I needed to do until I had her. It's something a lot of parents are afraid to do because it requires us to look internally and correct ourselves before correcting or trying to "fix" our children.
A lot of people prefer to stay the same, have the same mentality or do things the way their parents did them because "I turned out okay." A fear of change is holding you and your children back from truly living. Being afraid to change your parenting style because it "worked" for your parents can prevent you from having a genuine relationship with your children.
FEAR OF THE SAME
It's good to recognize changes that need to be made in your life, but you shouldn't make those changes out of fear. It keeps you from making changes from a positive perspective. For example, you don't want to beat your children as a punishment because you remember the negative impact that had on your relationship with your parents and your adjustment in life.
It's great that you don't want to use corporal punishment, but when you change that behavior out of fear, you become so worried about how they'll react that you're blind to effective means of discipline. When you consciously make this change and do it from a loving place, you can see clearer what type of guidance works best in your family.
FEAR OF FAILURE
Other people's opinions of us matter entirely too much. We have to look like we have the perfect life on social media; like our kids don't poop or cry and everyone is happy all day every day. Our kids have to get into the best schools and graduate with a 9.0 GPA (I know a 9.0 doesn't exist, but you get the point) and have life figured out by 25–you know, 2.5 kids, wealthy spouse, and the perfect career.
When they don't accomplish society's goals "in order", we become embarrassed and make excuses for them so we don’t look like bad parents or like we failed our kids. We need to celebrate them for who they are, no matter how old and "off track" they may seem.
Instead of fearing our parental failure, start celebrating who they are and support what makes them happy. Your ego is so bruised and you feel so out of control that you injure your children's self esteem and self confidence, changing their perspective of themselves forever.
Your ego is so bruised, and you feel so out of control, that you injure your children's self-esteem and self-confidence, changing their perspective of themselves forever.
I catch myself daydreaming about my daughter learning to code, being fluent in three languages, playing five instruments, dancing ballet, and becoming a successful engineer. What is this level of success based on, and where did I get it from? Why am I so afraid to let her be herself?
After having those thoughts, I quickly remind myself that she's her own person and get excited thinking about who she's meant to be. What God created her to do. Of course we all want the best for our kids. Who doesn't? But it's not our job to completely run someone else's life. They have a destiny that will show when we take a step back (or three of four) and see them for who they are and not who you want them to be.
After having those thoughts, I get excited thinking about who she's meant to be and what God created her to do. Of course, we all want the best for our kids. Who doesn't? But it's not our job to completely run someone else's life. They have a destiny that will be revealed once we take a step back (or three of four) and see them for who they are and not who you want them to be.
They are not clay to be molded into our perfect masterpiece, they are an already-crafted stone sculpture that we're steadily chiseling away at with our fears and struggles.
Of course children need exposure and guidance to know what's in the world and to find their interests, but forcing them into our idea of success is not productive, healthy, or conducive to a happy future.
Do you find yourself pushing your kids in your direction? Were you pushed into a field or life you didn't want?