Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

Let Kids Be Kids!

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If Kids Aren’t Who You Expect Them To Be

It’s so very natural to want your kids to take after you: fun loving, responsible, balanced, organized, or outgoing. It’s difficult for any parent to see their own kids having problems of any kind: trouble making and keeping friends, failing grades, being shy in social situations, or exhibiting inappropriate behaviors. Wanting them to be exactly like you is narcissistic! Attempting to make your children clones is just to stoke your ego or fulfill unresolved ambitions of your own childhood.

Expecting to live your life vicariously through your kids, or presuming that they will make your life whole, isn’t fair to them or to you. It’s totally your responsibility to discover the resources within your own wonderful, unique self to make you happy, and not rely on your kids to do so. Recognize your ego at work when you believe that your children’s likes or dislikes reflect poorly on you. Accept their own uniqueness and cherish them for who they are and not what you want them to be. Realize that they are their own persons and let go of the things you think they’re not.

When you catch yourself wishing that your kids were different: “Why is she so obnoxious and loud?”, “Why is he struggling to keep friends?”, “Why aren’t they on the honor roll?”, try to see things from your kids” point of view. How would you feel if someone was always hovering over you and telling you to do this and that, this way and that way? And be honest with yourself, are you being so hard on your children because you couldn’t accomplish things you desired when you were young, because you didn’t have the capabilities or the opportunities?

Letting your kids be kids, and just be themselves, helps you get a better perspective of what a great parent you really are and how extraordinaryly OK your young ones are! It also rids you of any guilt that your kids are not measuring up to an arbitrary standard of yours. Without all the negativity to get in the way of a positive relationship with them, you can focus on getting to know each of your “one-of-a-kind” kids even better.

When you identify with living vicariously through your kids, you may try to manipulate them into filling the sense of lack in your own life. It is manifested when you say things like, “I want you to achieve what I never did.”, “I want you to excel in all your studies so that you will be accepted into an ivy league university so I can be proud of you.”, “Don’t diappoint me.”, “I want you to play baseball and be a star pitcher.” The ego’s dysfunction comes to light with statements like these.

Opposition from your kids in similar situations gives you, sadly, a renewed force to continue this inappropriate behavior. The relationship foundation that you give and maintain with them sets the tone for all other relationships throughout their lives. It is also important in your positive communication efforts with them to consider your partner in redirecting your children’s behavior. There are many and varied reasons why moms and dads disagree about their parenting methods. Sometimes getting and staying on the “same page” with the other parent can be quite challenging to say the least, but it is truly worth it to do so for your kids’ sake. Experiment with tried and true strategies for working with and not against the other parent at all cost.

Easy and most workable tips and strategies will be the topic of discussion in my next blog post. Stay tuned!

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