As a young adult, I had a well scripted, perfect production of the life I would have. I had selfish dreams as to who and what my children would be. How they’d behave, what they’d do, and how they’d think. What a silly child I was. Children don’t conform to our immature little dreams. I had an idea how I would raise my children, discipline, rewards, and those sorts of things. Society, though, has a very strong pull on how we raise our children as well as the life we end up living. We seemingly don’t quite have the confidence to do our own thing, we follow the crowd, often to the detriment of our kids, our future society and to our own self esteem. I love my children dearly, they are my life and I pray that my new awareness and take on parenting will teach them to create healthy lives of their own.
First and foremost, it took me a long time to realize that my child is not me. That my children are their own persons. She’ll have her own opinions, likes, dislike, and beliefs. He will not necessarily be the “man” I want him to be, while still a child. Technology has become such a part of their lives, we can no longer shelter them from all danger and poison, and encourage our beliefs thinking they are the only and the best way. I had dreams for each of mine, so far, they haven’t complied to ANY of my desires. I’ve had to mourn those dreams, I’ve had to let go of my preconceived ideas of who they’d be. I’ve had to give them to Gods hand, to guide them. I’ve learned to let them trudge their own journey even when some of their choices make my heart sad and I’ve had to make changes that they don’t like but our consequences of poor choices. Some of the choices, have also made me quite joyous as I would have never thought of some of their ideas. Along with allowing them to make their own choices, is to also allowing them to suffer the consequences when those choices are not good ones. I can pray that those consequences will teach them, not break them.
As a parent, watching my child hurt makes me hurt. Watching my boy feel fear and express it as anger, makes my heart ache to save him. I cannot save him, but I can teach him how to express his fear without violence. I can show him that behaviors he witnessed as a small boy are not necessarily the best ones to mimic. I am learning to teach as opposed to save him. Society is in a trend of saving our children from hurt, saving them from the harshness of the world. Teaching them to be a gentler more sensitive human, but with this we are not teaching them to function in a world that doesn’t give a shit how you feel. The world isn’t gentle. Its harsh cold selfish and mean. Now, I know, there are some great people out there. Embrace them, but we need to be teaching coping skills. Teaching them to deal with failure, consequences of their stupid decisions, and to step up and take responsibility for their bullshit. I do not write because I know how. I do not write this because I have mastered this skill of raising perfect children. I write because I struggle every day. I swing back and forth from wanting to save them from the world and teaching them to rule their world. It’s difficult. I spent the first half of their lives, saving and coddling them. I see the effects of such loose and negligent parenting. Negligent? Yes, that’s what it is. I was an absent minded, codependent mother, who didn’t take my place as their parent, I took the place of protector, liar, hider and coddler. We lived in survival mode most of the time and its hard to teach them lessons when their physical safety and emotion health is threatened. Much of the world is suffering from addiction and obsession and our kids are suffering the consequences of our behavior as parents. I thank God that I woke up to my situation and made changes. They have healthier parents today.
And while I’m speaking of God, I think that’s another aspect of family life that we generally have forgotten. Why is there no faith in families these days? Why are we not teaching our children that there is a God that loves them even more than I do? I believe if we brought the aspect back into our home of prayer and discipline because it’s the right thing to do, rather than the “I said so,” doctrine. It’s a lot easier to live life, with the a God that loves you and will help you navigate. After leading a someone Godless, existence for most of my adult life, it’s refreshing but difficult to introduce teens and tweens to a God that they have a hard time believing in.
I struggle being that parent. I’m told a parent is not a friend to the teenager but it’s easier to be the cool mom. Its easy to let them experience whatever they want but is that the healthy adult position to take as a parent? As a cool mom, when shit gets serious, they don’t receive my seriousness as important. When their well being is at stake, they don’t listen, they blow it off as though it was a friends drama. This cause great strife in our life. That’s not for me to judge except how it effects my life. I can see the damage that is done when there is little direction and little discipline and it’s a bitch to correct and there’s a level of respect that is lost. Society, some how, has made it wrong to tell your kids no, to hurt their feelings, to hold them accountable. Kids have equally responded. When life gets difficult for them, they panic. When life is unpredictable, they get anxious and unstable. When they’re told no, the throw temper tantrums and become demanding. When others make fun of them, or tease them or life isn’t kind enough, they commit suicide or cut themselves to feel pain, so they know they are alive. Why?! I don’t know. Ask them why, they don’t know why either. When did this become the norm? My personal opinion is if kids are allowed to feel disappointed as small children they don’t have the ability to adapt as older children or adults. Why on earth would we want, as a society, to rob them of a most vital skill? Why wont we let them suffer a bit a littles so they know what to do? So they will know that sometimes, life sucks. And sometimes, most of the time, life is not fair. People wont comply because you are you. They need to know that although, they are very important as humans, and have a special reason to have been put on this earth, that I love them and God love them more, they are not and will not every be the center of attention in the great big world. When we don’t get our way, we take it as a hit, adapt and move forward. We let the disappointment sit and we pick our shit up and move on. People won’t always love us. That girl that we love with all our heart, may not feel the same and that’s ok. We don’t stick around and try to force another to stay if they dont want to, we go on our way, to whatever waits for us in the future. My new outlook will allow me to let my children experience joy, sadness, fear and disappointment while they are safely in my home and in my care, so that they will know how to handle those emotions when they are out in the world. This, in turn, with Gods blessing they’ll be successful, faithful, loving, resilient humans, that will live fulfilling lives.