Do you ever feel like it’s your fault if your older teen kids are making choices that maybe you don’t want them to make? Do you feel like you are failing at parenting? Do you ever feel like you aren’t enough for your kids or other people in your life? Do you ever feel like everything that happens in your life is your fault?
AAHHHHHHHHHAAHHHHHHHHHHHH This has been me and is still me on occasion. It has taken me years to understand that our kids are their own people! This is because of the world that we live in and the way we talk to each other.
For instance – Let’s say you see someone with an infant and they tell you something to the fact that the child is sleeping through the night… We automatically respond with “Good Job Mama!” Let’s say you have a toddler and your toddler is potty trained before they turn 2… again the response is something to the token, “Good Job Mama!” “Wow, you are slaying the Mom life” lol This could go on and on as the child gets older – Maybe your child is a teenager and that teen is a sports star or gets all A’s or they are always volunteering… Whatever they are doing – People will automatically look to that Mom or Dad and congratulate them on a good job. Right?
We as people and parents have to learn that our children are their own people from day one. When they are little they are standing on the foundation that we provide for them, but even with that they are who they are. We are merely trying to show them love in some fashion or another. I say this because: Think back to when you were a kid, teen, and early adulthood. I bet your parents provided some kind of a foundation… Did you stay on that foundation or did you eventually step off of that foundation and I bet you tried to create your own. I bet yours looked very different from your parents at least at first.
You can have parents that show up! Parent’s that provide financially! Parents that provide emotional support and everything you would call a “good upbringing” and their kids might derail and struggle as adults. They might struggle figuring out what they want to do when they grow up and they might job hop –
You can have a broken home – Maybe the Dad left and the Mom has to work 3 jobs to just maintain a roof over their heads. Her child might graduate at the top of the class and go on to graduate college to be a veterinarian.
People might comment to the first parents – Oh I’m so sorry that your child is struggling…
People might comment to her Wow!! Good job Mama! All your hard work paid off!
Neither is right or wrong it’s just perception –
The fact is that both kids were loved in one way or another they just had different home lives – They are just different people and they decided to go down different paths.
I hear and see people say things like oh my gosh, “I am so proud of the person you are becoming” This is sweet right and I am guilty of it too, but I am trying to be more cognitive in how I respond – I try instead to say I am so proud of the CHOICES that you are making! It’s not always easy to make the choices that you are making and you are really staying focused and choosing to put yourself and your goals first!” Something along those lines because this is acknowledging the child’s hard work and dedication, instead of just using something generic like you are just becoming a “beautiful young man or woman.”
We as parents work hard for our kids – We go through so much for them and we will continue to go through whatever we need to for them, but we have to understand that just because we take them to a practice doesn’t mean they will work hard. Just because we give them tools doesn’t mean they will choose to use them. We as parent’s have to learn how to understand that our kids are going to make choices and do what they want to do or what they feel is right for them. They are going to make choices based on the knowledge they have and where they are.
For instance – Our 16 year old has always loved sports from the time he was a tiny tyke – His first word was ball. This isn’t because I drilled him about sports or even really introduced it at all. He fell in love with golf at the age of 18 months and I can assure you this isn’t because he was introduced to it – He saw the US Open on while flipping through commercials and he was mesmerized. As he got older he loved to wear swim shirts everyday all day for every occasion – I can assure you he didn’t learn this from me or anyone else. He just liked what he liked.
Our 6 year old has been around sports from day one – For real he was at a baseball game at 4 days old and a cross country meet about a week old and he has been to more sporting events than I can count and the sweet child has no interest in any of those sports. At the age of 2 he fell in love with pink and has grown to love purple and everything rainbow.
The truth is that each kid has just been given room to explore themselves. When they came to us with an interest we tried to foster that interest if that’s what they wanted, but through each phase they have lead the way. This is probably true for your kids as well.
You can lead the way and force them into different things – You can force them to wear certain clothes, play certain sports, join clubs, wear a certain hairstyle along with so many other things. Eventually though they will be stepping off of your foundation and creating a foundation of their own. This is where they may start to make choices that make you question your parenting decisions.
Allowing them to build that foundation earlier with self confidence and room to grow will help them to really embrace who they are and feel more in control of where they are going and how they are going to get there.
Breathe Easy Mama – 🙂