I wanted to mostly write about my parenting experiences with this blog but I though of another equally parenting topic this week, trying for a parents approval. It seems to be that with me, my mom was never happy with me. I know a lot of kids that feel this way from ages 9 – 39! Quite often it seems like mom and dad have a completely preconceived notion of what you should be doing with your life regardless of what you think or feel.
Although I’m sure my mom is happy with me, that happiness is on her own terms and isn’t really felt by me. I often get the feeling that because I didn’t become an architect like I had said in Grade 2 or something ridiculous, I have let her down. Unless my success fits into her plan somewhere, it just isn’t valid. And feeling invalid in the eyes of a parent hurts deep.
As our parents pass on life wisdom and experience they are also passing on expectations of what they would like to achieve or like us to achieve. Our success is then defined by our parents and if our successes in life as we have defined them do not align with our parents vision, it can be extremely hard to get their approval. But that does not mean that we cannot have our own successes. And we should be mindful of the expectations we put on our own children. Sure we want our kids to succeed, but at what cost? And is the definition of success for your children something you will define, or will you help define it with your children?
There are a few recurring themes in my parenting methods and one of them is communication. I like to talk openly about success with my son and define it with him. In Grade 2 our success have had definitions such as getting our work done with no extra help, remembering all of our homework and making sure to answer reading questions in the proper format. Our goal was to accomplish these things regularly by June and we have gotten all of them pretty good. And now my son and I can celebrate because we are SUCCESSFUL in our goals. And we both feel excellent.
Am I ever going to get my mothers approval? Who knows. But I am proud to share successes with my own child and make sure that I am very lucky to have such an awesome son, who can focus on his goals and work towards them. I don’t think he pays any attention when I tell him my goals, hes probably thinking about playing LEGO Indiana Jones and getting some of his goals in the video game, but I know when I am successful, it is a WIN for the both of us and we will celebrate together as we take one more step towards our daily, monthly and yearly goals.
I encourage young parents to celebrate not just your successes in life, but those of your child. Any goal they accomplish is a pat on your back for the job your doing. And when my child succeeds, that is the only approval I need to know I am doing the job properly.
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