How many times do we hear parents say,”They may look-alike but none of them act the same,”in families, and yet we try to force identical behavior on all of the children. I understand the necessity to set rules and boundaries in our homes,in order to maintain equality for all the members of the family. I do not dispute the need to do so.
What I am talking about is how too many times we try to pin point each child into following the example of the child, that parents often pick,out of the family. More times than not it will be the oldest son or daughter of the home. There is even the philosophy or belief that exist, “raise the first child right and all the rest will follow.” Other times if parents find the oldest un-cooperative then they will pick the most submissive and hold her or him up as their favorite child or the example of the family, that the rest of the children need to follow.
We always do better as parents if we set the example that the children are to follow, instead of putting perfection on another child in the household. Too often the behavior of the child, is anything but perfection, but in a parents’ need to think they are raising the perfect child, they often blame that child more harshly, when they do prove that they are just a normal child and do and will make mistakes like all the rest of the children.
Other times parents are so intent in believing that this child is perfect that they will never make them take responsibility for their own mistakes or failures. In short parents will go into denial and refuse to believe anyone, who does not agree with their own estimation of their child. This will sometimes even include law enforcement, when they show up, and still these parents will deny this child made a mistake. It will always be the fault of another instead.
I think most people do understand the damage that parents do when they set their children against each other to compete for their approval or love, but sadly, it still does not stop that form of parenting ,in some cases. To call ourselves good parents when we will not tolerate anything beyond what we establish as “black and white”, reality, is an exaggeration of the word, “good.”
Just as we parents acknowledge, our children are all different, they will also excel in different areas of their life. The differences in maturity also tell us the need to raise our children as the individual they are. To simply pick out a child and expect the rest to follow the same behavior will only backfire and disappoint both them as well as ourselves. It is when we try to force a child into an image, we conceive, that we will have children who will rebel and often become the so-called,”losers”, that the parents have labeled them to be.
It can become very destructive to the families’ unity, when the child who disagrees with the parents has higher standards and becomes the real success of the family, instead, and they were not the “chosen one.”Sadly, there will always be families who would rather be right than to have a child of theirs’ prove their own judgment to be wrong, regardless how successful of a person, that child becomes. In cases where the entire family follows the lead of the parent, the child who feels differently in their belief system from the rest, will many times be branded by the siblings, especially when jealousy plays a role, no differently from the way the parents will brand the child,as well.
Just as adults have different ideas and opinions as well as different taste and some mature while others never do, the same is true of our children. If one of our children excels at sports and the other as a painter or writer, too many times fathers especially, will treat the son who enjoys something different from he did, as a child in the home who he simply shares the home with. Other times men will argue “they are girls. What do I know about shopping or volley ball?”
Mothers on the other hand, sometimes, will claim that they are just too nervous to watch sports while indulging the son or daughter who will go shopping with her. Other times it is the mothers who would not miss one of their child’s sports activities but will fail to show up at another child’s piano recital or the reverse. Children need equal time and attention from their parents and we cannot simply substitute our time by replacing it with an older sibling. If they fail to become a “mini Me” and instead find interests of their own, we need to keep our own disappointment out of it, and instead support them.
When we become lost in our own lives,children will misbehave, if they find that is the only way they can get our attention. Fathers cannot continuously expect mothers to cover for them in their child’s activities or the reverse, and not expect that at some point their child or children will act out their disappointment, as well.
To be good parents we all need to understand that our children will choose what interests them and when they do, our role is to support each child with the same amount of concern and interests that we show those who share our interests. If we cannot be enthusiastic just for the sake of it being our child, who is performing, then we need to make an attitude adjustment of our own. We need to make an effort to understand better why this holds an interest to our child. If we need to learn the game, then take time to learn it.
When we allow our own fears to enter into the lives of our children, too many times, we can let those fears stagnate the life that our child has a right to discover. Too often parents will believe that their “black and white” way of doing things is all that matters, and as long as a child steps up to that criteria, then we have been good parents. We can also apply this same theory to the kind of person we have become when it comes to accepting the differences in all of the human race.
Good parents are in truth, those parents who accept our children’s differences from ourselves as readily as we do their shared interests with us. Anyone can enjoy what we find enjoyable but it takes a good parent to acknowledge enjoyment and respect for our children’s differences, from our own.
It is always easy to raise a child who agrees with us, but the true test of our own ability, is raising the child who has a different opinion from our own, on almost everything, with the exception of morality. When we raise our children through love and support while teaching them the boundaries of respect, in return, we teach them the significance of unconditional love. They will then in return teach their children who will teach their children etc., and both the family as well as Society, will know the rewards.