One of the dangers in families is that we tend to approach things with the glass half-empty. We often want our children to be MORE motivated or MORE focused, or for them to try HARDER. What could be more disheartening than somebody approaching you and constantly undervaluing what you are doing. Imagine if a friend was always seeing you in that light. We need to take a pause and not assume the worst with our children. 

There is a hierarchy in parenting that is very different from the horizontality that exists in adult loving relationships. In adult loving relationships, there’s an equality there of taking care of each other. But when it comes to children, that shifts dramatically. 

As parents, there are times when we feel disappointed if our children are not fitting the vision we have for them. There’s this sense of disorientation when our child doesn’t live up to how we have imagined them and what we have cultivated for many years. That’s out of love, of course, all of our energies supporting our children’s likes and dislikes and encouraging them to do things is because we want them to succeed. But we also need to allow the burgeoning of the child’s personality and desires. If there isn’t any discretion between the parents’ frustration and disappointments versus the prerogative of the child, that’s where things can get really messy. 

Ultimately, we want to create that space for our children to become who they want to be, and not what we think they should be. We don’t want our children to betray themselves in the service of others. Instead, we have to instill a soft, delicate, responsive, flexible relationship with the child’s instincts.

If you want to learn more about cultivating safety, curiosity and flexibility in the brain of the child, check out https://mitchellsmolkin.com/dos013.

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