I suppose that most parents want to see their kids grow up into happy, resourceful adults who can solve problems that come their way, and realize their dreams, and thrive. No?
I’m going to be optimistic and assume that most parents want to see their kids happy and capable, though I expect there are parents threatened by their kids’ success, or using them as fodder for their own aims, or abusing them. Ugh. Makes me sick at heart to think about the kids and grownups… but for this post, let’s focus on parents who want something like I do – to see their kids happy, resourceful, doing their own thing and handling life.
Question for Parents
How do you take action towards this for your child(ren), without falling into the trap of seeing them as:
- incomplete as they are today
- needing to be fixed or improved
- working towards some future point when they’ll be ‘done,’ officially baked into a completely functioning grown up.
Can you interact with your child in a way that separates their inherent value as a human being from their behavior and learning path?
I recently heard a talk by Shefali Chowdry at Oprah’s recent SuperSoul Session #2 in L.A. She suggests that parenting is mostly about control, and we teach our kids that they are not enough:
We teach children to look outwards for significance rather than inwards. Parent-child relationships are the main reason children learn they are not enough. We want them to be happy, to succeed, to achieve, to fix them, so we can feel better, so we can be good parents.
It’s taken me YEARS to understand my own foundational fears of inadequacy, not being good enough, to realize most of my measures of success are externally driven. It would be cool to not contribute to similar beliefs and hang ups in my kids!
You are worth something now, always.
Do I think my kids are only worth the sum of their attitude, actions, achievements, grades? Do I want them to grow up thinking they need to be fixed or that they have to accomplish something to have value? No.
I’d rather they believed the above statement: you are worth something now, always.
Do I want to ensure they master the 4Cs (Communication, Creativity/ideation, collaboration/teamwork, critical thinking/problem solving), so they hold skills that are most likely in demand and highly valuable in the future world of work? Yes.
So how do I reconcile these two things? How do I talk about the 4Cs and put out tools and talk about their importance while avoiding any sense of lack or inadequacy if you don’t have them? Ruminating.