Us not them

We may wish our children to be a doctor or an accountant or be the next great inventor. They say that we should be careful about what we wish for. For most, it is adequate to want nothing more for our children than for them to feel satisfied, content and free.

We see them sleep in till mid-morning and want them in to the world of work, forgetting that young adults need more sleep at this age. You can push and prise, but also live your own life and not have to live it through theirs. We declare that we want them to be happy. The truth can be that we are only happy if they turn out how we imagined they would. Parents think they got away with burdening their children with a lot of pressure. Pressure to abide, to do, to act in a certain way and so on. It comes as a shock when it all comes steaming out in the teens. Most teens will rebel to some degree, but how explosive that will be depends on how much we restricted their release valve.

Our parents may have had some hopes of how our lives would pan out. Hope turns to disappointment. It is not about changing to keep our parents pleased but appreciating that they see it as their failure. What may soften the blow is pointing out that although what has materialised is a little different to what was expected, all is well. There is always an upside to provide some reassurance, to give them a sense that their efforts have been worthwhile. “I never managed to be a doctor like you wanted, but I have a good job nevertheless.”

Do we give unfettered access to the wide scope of knowledge out there? Do we let them play in an adult arena at an age when they are most unworldly wise and impressionable? There is pornography, violence, incitement, hate, suggestive material all interwoven with useful nuggets of information. You are free to choose what you will permit, but think hard about who to blame when they begin to harm themselves in so many ways.

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