Your children may enjoy activities that you didn’t at their age. Intellectually, you may know that your children are not you and they can form their own opinions. Often, however, we influence our children’s opinions, perceptions and motivation by imposing our baggage on them.
As an educator, it is difficult for me to encourage success when a student tells me that it’s okay for her to dislike a topic and not do well because her mother told her that she didn’t like and failed at it as a child. It is hard for me to open your child’s mind when he says, “My dad was bad at this and hated it so he said he understands that I don’t want to do it.” What you disliked as a child, and even what you enjoyed, has little to do with your children. They are growing up in a different era. They are having experiences with different people. Your children are not reliving your experiences and they don’t think exactly as you did. Your baggage narrows their world. What a loss!
When your children were born, they were virtually a clean slate. They are not entirely clean slates because they are born with hereditary genetics that predispose them for certain talents, struggles, temperament and appearance. They do not, however, have opinions and preferences at birth. Their world is wide open. Then, no matter how well meaning we are, we ooze our experience on them. Some of our experiences ooze are good, of course – our love of music or history or laughter - but some should consciously kept to ourselves. If your children are going to participate in an activity that is safe and age appropriate but you didn’t or don’t enjoy it, say nothing. If your reaction to an event is about your own fears but has no connection to your child’s safety, explain that you are being emotional but your child doesn’t need to be.
Before you impose your likes and dislikes on your children, ask yourself:
“Does what I’m about to say narrow my child’s world?”
Before you express set rules or make a decision about your child’s boundaries, ask yourself:
“Am I creating this boundary because of my own baggage that has
no connection to real safety issues today?”
When you impose your world view without letting your children form their own, say:
“I’m sorry that I didn’t let you decide how you feel. I was wrong.
Try it again. Maybe you will like it.”
Read this blog for more articles. Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.
For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families - Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC
Copyright 2015 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved