Why as parents, do we think we can control our children?
Society, expectations, fear, convenience? Well, let me tell you, the biggest mistake I’ve made (and still make at times), is trying to get my child to do something I want them to do. Typically, it is this case when we are expected to be somewhere or expected to behave a certain way. Well, if you are a parent, or are expecting, the biggest advice that I can give to you is to let go of expectations and let go of control. Our children aren’t ours to control and every time that we try to control them, it breaks their spirit and purpose for being here. Now, I’m not saying we should just let our children run willy-nilly. They do need guidance and we are here to help guide them on their own path, not ours.
I’m slowly learning that children are here to help us heal from limiting beliefs that were instilled in us when we were young. At the ages of 2-6, our brains are like a sponge, soaking up all of the information and ideas around us without a filter. Don’t think you can just say anything around a kiddo during this highly perceptive age. This stage in life is so impactful and important for a child!! A limiting belief can come from something that may seem insignificant to you. For example, how many times do adults talk about a lack of money in their lives? Then, how often do adults feel like they are lacking in the money department when they grow up? I don’t know about you, but I used to hear about this a lot when I grew up and guess what, I had a limiting belief about not having enough money. Also, think of unworthiness, not smart enough, not pretty enough, etc. There’s GREAT article explaining this better here.
So every day, I’m trying to give up more and more control of others, especially my children to help instill in their confidence and worth and purpose. I’m the only person I can control and when you really get that, wowzah! Things start to become more and more incredible! First, let me tell you, that my parenting isn’t perfect (no one’s is) and I have a lot to learn still. Second, before I gifted myself the wisdom of Dr. Shefali’s course, I had too many expectations for my family. I believed that I had to get my 4 year old daughter to start cleaning up her things all by herself or she wouldn’t learn responsibility. If her toys weren’t picked up before bed we would take them away for a while or threaten to donate them to kids who would take care of them (SMH). Teaching consequences, right? Well, that backfired and instead of teaching her consequences, we created an angry and hurt kiddo. I told my daughter I had made a mistake with her cleaning up her own messes and from now on instead of fighting for her to clean up, we told her we would help her when she needs. Night time ensued and we reminded my daughter it was time to clean up her things and put them in her playroom. She asked for help and I told her I would definitely help her. Now, when I have something I need to pick up, she gladly helps me without even asking her for help! This morning, when I brushed her hair and sprayed it with a bit of water, she offered to help me clean the mirror. I was so happy that she had offered! I thanked her and was beaming. Before, when we were fighting her, her father or I would ask for help and she would say, “No, that’s not my mess/stuff.” That, to me, doesn’t instill confidence that my sweet daughter will be a humanitarian when she grows up (and if she isn’t that’s okay, letting it go). I want her to feel proud about helping others when they’re in need. I think we are on the right track. Who knew this parenting thing could get so hard? ha!
When we let go of what expectations we have for our children, things just work more efficiently. Children (all of us) were put on this Earth because they have a purpose. Let’s not squander it for them!