As a parent, it is common to feel we are responsible for our children and all that they do and feel in their lives, but that perspective usually gets us into trouble and doesn’t ultimately help our children. It is our job to help manage our children’s lives up until they are around ten years old. After this magical age our job shifts into becoming more of a consultant. We only have another eight years to teach them how to do their own thinking and problem solving so they’ll know what to do when they leave for the real world.
A better way of looking at it is that we are not responsible for our children; we are responsible to our children and to ourselves. Our responsibility to our children is to provide a teaching environment that reflects the real world in the comfort of a loving home. This enables them to experiment with what works and what doesn’t before the consequences of their actions become life threatening. By being responsible to ourselves, we have the base from which to model what it looks like to respect ourselves and keep our children accountable for their actions.
This is hard to remember when we see our children in any kind of pain. But, ironically, we end up creating unnecessary pain for our children by over-managing their lives. Our distorted idea about what actually helps children become capable, responsible people gets in the way of teaching them how to think.
For example, I have come across many parents getting overly involved in tasks that belong to the child, like filling out applications to college and managing the last years of high school that determine the options they will have. Our fears about where they might end up if we don’t help them, prevents them from learning the skills that really would help them. So be responsible to your children and keep the focus on yourself. Learn how to manage your own fears instead of your child’s life.
Copywrite© 2006 by Leigh Scott. All rights reserved.