PARENTING – Part 2
And the person I have given birth to made me see myself in ways I never knew existed. Here is this person I am supposed to love unconditionally yet I have used guilt, anger, shouting and other controlling ways to get my child to do what I want him to do. When I couldn’t think of other ways to get him to comply, there was always “because I said so,” even though the parenting class and the book I read while he was in 8th grade, and myself, said that phrase was a definite no no.
So, looking back, as my son is getting ready to go off to college, here is the biggest the lesson I have learned. My left over emotional baggage, known and unknown, crept out at unexpected times to shape the relationship I care about most in this world, the one with my son. My baggage didn’t go away, just because I had a child; my baggage didn’t go away because I am seeking to love my child unconditionally. I think too many times we see our children as a way to start over our lives, a clean slate, a way to get and give love, a notion of finding that one great true loving relationship, but the reality is there is no starting over, we start from where we are. And if we are unhealthy in our relationship with ourselves and others, that follows us into parenthood no matter how much we don’t want it to. Ok, enough of that stuff, here is the rest of what I learned/am learning.
Values do not change, we have to instill them even when we seem like the odd ball – when they are children, we are parents first, not friends.
Give the lessons indirectly when you can, especially when in high school because by then my voice was a trigger to stop listening. Interject believes in casual conversations more than the “let’s sit down and talk” moments where you are getting upset and they are giving you that look.
Live by example. If one of your lessons is don’t lie- you don’t lie. Kids are very observant, at every age.
Balance the attention to school work with finding out how your child is emotionally.
Stop being so analytical. Love does not require analysis. I am learning to let him come to me more instead of trying to prod and poke his inner thoughts out of him.
Listen more, talk less. I was so busy espousing my wisdom that I neglected to realize that my son actually has a brain of his own and, despite my years of experience, HE actually makes quite a bit of sense.
Do your best to love the person in front of you. Pay attention to that person not the person you want or think they should be. Explore THEIR talents and interests. Be careful not to try to live vicariously; this is not a do over of your life. Kids come to have their own journey.
Finally, give yourself a break, if you are trying to be a good parent, you are 90% there. And if that isn’t comforting, remember- it seems everybody hates their parents. Well … that’s not very comforting. What I am really trying to say is: working on being a kind loving person, in general, is going to be the best solution to being a great parent.