Let The Kids Be Kids!
As parents, we are obsessed with raising the perfect child. Extension lessons at the age of two, master classes at five and six. We are on the edge of our seat at their sports matches, eyes swerving back and forth, careful not to miss a single shot our darling hits. Whether we admit it or not, we are heavily invested in who our children become, and more importantly, how well they fare in life.
We parent our children with the best of intentions, and have a natural inclination to want to expose them to life’s rich opportunities.
As parents, we need to recognise each child as their own person. It’s through this realisation of their separateness and individuality that we are given an opportunity to challenge ourselves to grow. By meeting both our needs and those of our children, parenting becomes a partnership in which our children teach us as much about ourselves as we teach them about themselves. In this much healthier relationship, our children are no longer our possessions or extensions, and they flourish as their own person.
At the core of this concept of ‘conscious’ parenting is the reality that the primary goal of parenting isn’t to raise our children, but to raise ourselves. Through our children, we have an opportunity to see how attached we are to status, image, material success, competition and power, and are brought face to face with how controlling, insecure and anxious we are.
Countless parents complain about their children’s weaknesses, and I find most do so because their children’s limitations evoke anxiety in them. It often turns out that, on an unconscious level, the parent is faced with an unresolved issue from their own childhood. Suzanne, a client of mine, used to get into daily battles with her son Mark over homework. “You’re just plain lazy!” she would scream at him. “How can you be so unmotivated? I don’t understand you at all.” It was only when I began to dig into Suzanne’s experience in primary school that it emerged she suffered from dyslexia – a condition that had gone untreated for years, causing her to be labelled “lazy,” “careless,” and “incompetent”. Her anger at Mark was really her anger over how she had been treated by her parents and teachers.
How we tune into our children's needs as individuals- whether we notice their feelings and the degree to which we connect with their interests- ultimately determies how well adjusted they will grow up to be.
(Indebted to various sources)