Thursday, September 10, 2015

Goals parents have for children vs children's goals

The goals parents have for their children can differ from the goals the children have for themselves. Goals are reinforced by parents and challenged by children. The goals children have for themselves change as they are exposed to friends, their community and even the media. Goals also change as children learn what they're good at and what interests them. For example a parent may want a child to be interested in playing a sport when the child is interested in the theater. The things parents want their children to be interested in can also pertain to food. I had a parent once tell me she wanted her child to like peas because she did. A child will like the kinds of foods and extracurricular activities that they will like and it's the responsibility of the parents to encourage and talk to the child about how they can help the child reach the goals they have.

I've been dealing with this some lately. My child just started college last week. During the process of applying I asked a sibling to help my child fill out a few forms that were complicated. I asked this sibling to help because it was related to what they do for a living so I knew it would be easier for this sibling to help than for me and my child to try to figure it out ourselves. Asking the sibling to help though became the sibling helping my child accomplish what my sibling wants for my child.

My siblings are really happy and excited for my child and where she's going to college and see a bright future for her, because it is. However, my siblings help became an 'I'm so happy and excited for her I'm going to make it all happen for her,' situation. It became 'I want this for her and this for her and since I know what I'm doing I'm going to do it all for her and she'll accomplish and be everything I want her to be and do.'

My child's future isn't about what my siblings want for her and them helping her accomplish it. My child's future is about what she wants to do and be and accomplish and her doing and being and accomplishing those things. She's going to a good school that will help her with all of that. Sometimes in our excitement and happiness for our children (or someone else's) we go overboard trying to help them accomplish what we see their path opening up to be. Our children's future's are about them, not us as the parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles. We can support and as parents it's our responsibility to guide, help and support our children to accomplish their goals. The key words and phrase though is their goals. When we make our children's future about us (or when another person makes a child's future about them) we risk doing damage to our relationship with them that we need to be sure we want to do. We also risk the child having a future they're not happy in and with.

Support, guide and help your children become who they want to become and accomplish what they want to accomplish in life because their lives are about them not the parents.

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