I have chosen to blend this post together with the Christian Corner because this topic is very important to all people. I also believe that I am able to navigate this from both perspectives, respectfully.
Before our burnout post, we were talking from the perspective of the child, or person who was once a child, and their authenticity. We discussed what hinders authenticity and what nurtures healthy development of authenticity.
Now I want to talk about parents moving through their child’s authenticity. This can be emotionally difficult, to the point of grief and/or it can be a joyous journey. There are many determining factors for which direction this will go for the parent. The factors are as many as there are belief systems in this world.
I want to start out by asking that we please not demonize a belief system because it does not accept an anything goes approach. If we dive into psychology and function/dysfunction, we learn that there must be limits set on behavior or we can/will harm each other. The true issue lies in the connection/nurturance, or lack thereof; not in the system of belief itself. Let’s just de-stigmatize that together please.
Back to the perspective of the parents. When the hopes/dreams a parent has for their child do not equal the expectations the child has, that can be very difficult. We parents must then evaluate our own emotions and calm the storm before we can deal well with the situation. I say this from the experience of being on all ends of this spectrum. I have done this right and I have done this very wrong. I have parented in extreme situations. Situations that have been so extreme that they have left me abandoned by people that I loved due to their inability to digest the situation.
So, I speak from experience. Some good. Some, very difficult.
Our role as parents is not to be our child’s friend. Our role is not to live vicariously through our child. Our children are NOT an extension of ourselves. Our children are their own, unique person. They have value and are equally important to us and all of humanity. Parenting is NOT about the parent. It is about raising a psychologically healthy adult. For Christians, our goal in parenting is dual purpose. We also must do our best to raise psychologically healthy adults AND we aim to teach them to follow and love Jesus. These goals (for anyone) can become difficult if our child has chosen a different path than what our ideals have caused us to envision.
We also need to realize that children have needs. Children need structure and guidance. Children need play, appropriate touch, freedom to explore within the confines of safety (and for those confines to be broadened as the child ages), children need appropriate love and attachment from their primary caregivers. Children need someone they can look up to.
We can have hopes and dreams and goals for our children. But it is not our job to force them into conformity with those expectations. And we need to keep our own desires in check because the relationship with the human being before us is more important than our wants and desires for them.
At the same time, we cannot lose ourselves in our children. Parenting is about sacrifice and our own sense of self. We sacrifice many wants and needs for our children, but we must still be ourselves. We must still care for ourselves. We cannot be the healthy parents they need if our identity becomes wrapped up in them. In fact, this is we can smother our children and another way in which we traumatize them.
So how do we do this? How do we have a level of emotional health that we can then pass on to our children? How do we deal with the feelings of loss when a child is different from our dreams?
We deal with this by knowing who WE are and being truly confident ourselves. By knowing our own convictions alongside a well formed sense of self, we can give space to our children while also acknowledging our emotional difficulties to ourselves AND knowing what parts of that to show our children for their own healthy development.
Does this sound too big? Scary? Impossible?
This is where coaching and possibly therapy come into play. You can sign up for a Discovery Session with me here and we can talk through the level of help that would be right for you. I am confident in my ability to refer to therapy and also to know the limits of my scope. Discovery sessions are free, so let’s talk and see if my services are right for you or if I can suggest a therapist or clinic that can come alongside your needs.
Last month we introduced Blu of Blu’s Earthly Creations.
Like Blu, this month’s focus is going to play a large role of helping out with the Art Gallery & Maker’s Market I am co-hosting with Amy Mae’s True Passion.
This month, meet Jim and Samantha Stanton of Perfectly Feral Housewife and Husband.
Jim and Sam have been an integral part of my life for a number of years. They have ventured out into crafting together and make it work well. Jim makes veteran focused, wood burned clocks and more. Sam makes hand crafted crocheted apparel.
They will be at the event, helping out the hosts as needed and also selling their product. Come say hi to them and buy a couple items.
The first big event is THIS SATURDAY! We are so very excited! We are thankful to Bushel and A Peck Apple Orchard for the use of their facilities.
We have so many great vendors for you to shop and experience! There will be the items from Perfectly Feral Housewife and Husband, mentioned above. We will also have woodburned boxes from Blu’s Earthly Creations, mentioned last month. There will also be baked goods, homemade teas and tinctures, art, epoxy items, leather goods, glass items, candles, and more!
We will also have Richard Girard Fitness there to do a workout at the Market! This will be a wonderful way to get outside, get those endorphins flowing, and then to return indoors to the rest of the shopping experience!
Again, this month will be sponsoring single mother Sammy Osbourne, whose son had a tragic accident last year. He is having ongoing medical issues from the accident. Sammy needs help with a variety of expenses related to travel, loss of work, and caring for her son.
We cannot wait to see you there!