As I compare how my kids are with me, to how I must have been as a kid, I realize that I may have a romantic view of how I was as a kid. My mom is gone, which affords me this opportunity of distorted thinking.
Of course, I’ve romanticized that I called my mom every day (we paid for every minute on our cell phones in those days and I KNOW I didn’t call her every day). Or that I checked in to see how things were going when I knew she wasn’t feeling well (I did not). Or even that I never asked or needed money (really?).
When I was growing up and a young adult, I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand my relationship with my mom. I wonder if she felt bad about that. I think she knew, as I know for my kids, that the world is a complicated and fast moving place. That regardless of differences we might have, at various times, we parents have a great influence on the attitudes, beliefs, and the course of our children’s lives .
Sometimes our children’s behavior trigger unhappy recollections of undesirable aspects of our own personalities; or perhaps our child resembles some other person who has been, in our eyes, a major disappointment. It is at these moments that we sometimes feel stress and concern about our kids.
We all have similar expectations for our children:
- To be happy with themselves and others.
- To have a good relationship with us the parents.
- To take a growing responsibility for themselves.
- To have a good education for life and earning a living.
- To be happy, contented individuals who will be able to accept the ups and downs of life.
- To have a value system with which they are comfortable.
- To be healthy.
I’m pretty sure my mom had these same expectations for me. So, maybe not much has changed in 30 years.
Friends, as many of our kids move on to the start of a new part of their lives (their own reset) let’s not forget (and let’s appreciate) that we play a huge part in their lives and we need to be there for them in the good and the bad times. We set the example for them of interests and attainments – which they may or may not imitate. Unfortunately (or in my case, fortunately!) abilities, skills and interests do not pass on automatically from parent to child.
We cannot predict how our children will turn out; they are all different, and some of them are very different to ourselves. But it’s clear that our kids are individuals in their own right, who need to be guided and advised, listened to and loved, who need to map out their own destinies and have ultimately to live with their own choices. But, they need us. And, they need to know that we are available to offer them our unconditional love and support even if at times they seem to be acting like a sh** (which can be frequent with the self absorption of the 20-something child!). I mean seriously, weren’t you a sh** as a kid? I was!