Before we have children we think about how we would raise them and how they would turn out to be. We also think about the ways we are going to instill all the knowledge into them that we have to help learned to help prepare them for the real world. But then we forget about the other little monsters walking around. Our competitive nature can overtake us subconsciously and then our little ones become more of an extension of how a “good” parent we are. Then our focus shifts away from “helping them to figure out who they are” to “how better you can be”.
When we see other people’s children walking around and being successful and doing things that our children aren’t even doing yet, our envious side kicks in and then we begin to feel inadequate as a parent. And then the push begins for our children to be like the “others”. This attitude of “competitiveness” is due in part to our own inward reflections of who we are and we extend that to our own child. We see our children as valuable creatures who represent us (most of us do this) and when we see our child struggling with something, we become self-conscious and think “What is wrong with my child? What is wrong with me?” I have seen this time and time again from parents during Parent/Teacher Conferences and it is heart breaking.
It is heartbreaking because parents think they have failed when their child isn’t performing as well as they would hope and become frustrated when their child is struggling with a concept. Instead of encouraging them by offering assistance or understanding, I see parents chastise their child and make them feel like they can never struggle. And then the comments about “so and so doing so well” and “Why are you struggling? You should know this!” Instead of waiting for an answer, they continue to berate their child and make them feel like they aren’t good enough. I know this is not intentional and parents are well intended but the look on their children’s faces and the body language they exhibit speaks volumes to me.
Parents, your child is an individual who was brought into this world by you. Your child has their own unique abilities and characteristics that are embedded into them. We must learn to encourage them to think on their own and discover their own strengths and weaknesses. We must learn to accept their struggles and help them figure out solutions, but we must learn to feed their souls. Tearing them down and comparing them to other children will only create an adult who will grow up continuously trying to “one-up” everyone. They will only want outside validation but crave mental clarity, while struggling internally on what they want out of life.
As adults, we love our children but sometimes our judgements are clouded by how we were brought up and our own insecurities. We must learn to take care of those and not allow to pass down that mind set onto our own children. Learning to end the cycle of self-criticism will really help all of us in the long run and it will create confident, strong human beings who truly love themselves. And who wouldn’t want more of that? – Peace and Love