Being a responsible parent comes with so much unknown territory – wouldn’t you agree? We don’t get taught this stuff and even if we did – every child is a unique soul, living in their own sense of reality with their own set of life choices and decisions to make. As a parent we cannot possibly know the full extent of the world our children live in. We all filter what we see, hear and feel every day differently and we do not shadow our children 24/7. We trust in what we’ve taught them and that the decisions they make will be good ones (and learn from the ones that turned out not to be so fabulous).
My girls are 16 and 17 years old, they are truly my greatest blessings in life. So when they are at a cross roads in life choosing which path to travel along – it’s easy for me to make suggestions on what I think they could/should be doing; afterall it’s called ‘being a good parent’ isn’t it?
I’m discovering how important it is for them to make their own choices without too much pressure being put upon them by me – or their father. With so much external input not only from us they can become unsure of which path to go down; they also lose a sense of identity – a conflict within, whom to please, what to do first… and maybe they want to have a complete rethink anyway. From my experience we either move towards or away from what we’re told to do. When told we will not achieve something – we may think ‘I’ll show you!’ or ‘Well I just won’t bother then’….
I remember trying to fulfil the wishes of my parents as I was growing up. Taking jobs which they thought were best for me…. but I did not enjoy them, these jobs were not fulfilling my values – I was not being true to my core. I have to remember to this.
There is a fine line between parental apathy (‘oh, let them find their own way forward – or not’), parental guidance (‘check out these opportunities, have you considered x y and z?’) and being parentally pressuring (‘get down to the careers office now, you must do this… you’ll regret it if you don’t')….
I figure with my girls – I give them all the opportunities I can, I encourage, praise and ensure they know I’m proud of them… they can live at home feeling secure and loved. It’s down to them to choice their path, I’m here to give external support and encouragement but it’s their lives and most of all – their happiness is my priority.
It’s tough being a parent sometimes!