This blog post is not intended to shame parents, but LIBERATE parents and help them release some of the societal burden placed on them on what it means to be a good parent and to parent less through their own parenting ego and more through the awareness of their child’s unique needs.
The reality is that we place so much emphasis on “doing”, and assume that’s the same thing as “being”. What do I mean by “doing”? I’m talking about making sure our children look perfect, are mastering every academic, athletic, and art skill, and cannot relax unless we achieve “perfection”. We think we are selfless in so many ways when we are working hard as a caregiver for a child so they can have what we want them to have (e.g., good grades, a clean room, good behavior), that we think to ourselves, “this child is so lucky to have me because of the things I do for him”.
And we often let children know this when they are not perfect (aka guilt parenting, because you were likely parented that way when you were behaving like a human and made mistakes as a child). If you are reading this, there is a good chance that this is the way you or your parenting partner were parenting when you were growing up. Acknowledging this truth is painful and can cause grief, loss, anger, and sadness, but it’s the first step to ending cycles of inter-generational trauma.
By separating our own needs and desires from the needs of the child, we can become more conscious about the pressures we are placing on ourselves, others, and the child. We can step back and ask “does making sure X happens really benefit THIS child, and the dynamic between us?” If the answer is “no”, gently notice why you were hanging on to that expectation. Most likely, on a subconscious level, you believe that your worth and safety and being loved by others depends on it. Working through these internal patterns is key to transforming your relationship with yourself and your child and raising them to be the healthiest version of themselves.