I love my children.
I want what's best for them, I want them to learn from my experience, I want them to not make the mistakes I made. I want them to have what I didn't have. I want them to have the things I think will make them happy.
And I do all this out of love.
I do all this out of fear. Fear that they'll get hurt, fear that they won't be happy, fear that they won't have a good life...if I don't control everything now.
When we tell ourselves that we are acting out of love, we are actually acting out of fear. This is true for each of us , it's a natural by product of being a parent. We tell ourselves we want the best for our family because we love them so much. We are just trying to protect them . Protect their feelings from being hurt, protect them from making wrong decisions, if we don't do this something bad will happen....so although we think we are doing this out of love, it's all out of fear. And when we do this we actually weaken the people that we are trying to protect.
Because we are telling them ...I don't trust you to make the right decision so let me make it for you... or I dont have the confidence that you know what to do, so let me tell you what to do.
This not only weakens them (which is the opposite of what we would want) but also affects the trust and connection in your relationship. And ultimately that's what we want is to have, that connection with our kids. And when we put our fears, our stuff on them, this weakens that connection.
Your approval means everything to your child no matter how old they are, no matter how old you are. I bet you are still seeking approval from your own parents consciously or subconsciously. And when you keep trying to control everything, you are sending a message that they are not good enough. Apart from the fact that you are chasing after an illusion of control, because we really cannot prevent every bad thing from happening, it's simply not in our sphere of control. This illusion only creates more stress on us because the finish line keeps moving.
If you want to raise resilient, resourceful kids, show them that you believe they are capable of making the right choices. And let go of your own stuff, your fear. If you want to act out of love then explore what that would really mean, what do you have to let go of in order to be able to act out of love and not fear. Are you expecting them to fulfill your dreams or make up for the pain or loss you may have endured?
We think our role is to control or manage the child's life. But we are not here to control our child but instead we are here in the journey with them, to grow together , to learn, unlearn , keep moving. It is about our growth as much as our child's. Just because I'm an adult does not mean I'm done or that I've arrived. There's still a way to go. And sometimes the role of being a parent is just a role we're playing as another excuse to keep learning.