My son doesn’t want to go to uni. He doesn’t love learning. He doesn’t seem to apply himself to life in the way that I would so love him to.
I’m disappointed, and I’ve told him so.
But, I’m NOT disappointed in HIM, far from it, 100% of my disappointment comes from me and the mismatch between the son I had created in my imagination and the son I have before me.
AND ONLY ONE OF THEM IS REAL.
Here’s the thing, from the moment we become human we are creating scenarios in our minds about what could and what should be.
From the moment we become parents we start dreaming of the family life we want to have, of what we want for our children and how they might ‘turn out’. And we buy into these dreams. We invest in them!
Yet the contrast between what we want and what we are actually experiencing can be pretty stark….but there’s gold in there when we look.
Every contrast holds an invitation to remember what’s truly important to us and while we may be laser focused on what we DON’T want, there’s also a huge arrow pointing to what we DO want…which gives us power to do something about it.
Pain is inevitable…suffering isn’t.
Accept the pain when it comes, but we don’t need to hang out there in every moment. Instead, we can choose to take out power back and change what’s not working for us.
There’s truth is the saying ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got’
You may feel that you have no choice. It may seem like the ONLY way you’ll feel ok again is if your child changes their ways.
But YOU have the power, YOU have a choice, we ALL do. Sometimes the alternatives may seem that they aren’t worth considering as they seem soooo difficult or wrong, but these are still options, they are simply ones you’re choosing to say no to.
The thing is to know that it’s not that person, your child, who is the disappointment.
YOU are FEELING disappointed about the contrast and disconnection between their actions in reality and the story you had created in your mind of what you wanted them to do and be.
Your child/young person/human needs to know that your love for them isn’t conditional on them choosing behaviours that support the picture that YOU have created in YOUR head of them.
That’s YOUR story, not theirs.
They are creators too so let them create their own story and live that…and learn from the consequences of their own actions.
You don’t need to accept their behaviour, or approve of their choices but if you want them to become the very best human they can become then simple see, love and accept the human before you.
Teach them to trust themselves and own their own power, not to second guess what they ‘should’ be doing to be accepted and loved.
The disappointment you feel simply reflects this contrast within you, so stop getting angry and frustrated with them and look within instead.
What’s important to YOU?
What is it that YOU want that you’re deferring responsibility to your child to create or be?
What does your child’s choices and behaviours get for YOU?
What do you need to let go of to really see the essence of them?
Stop looking for evidence of how your child doesn’t meet YOUR needs and start looking at THEM. Be curious, as if they are a new person in front of you and get to know them as a human rather than your child.
Of course you’re still the mammy or the daddy or whatever role you play and you have an amazing opportunity to influence them…and you ARE influencing them whether deliberately or positively or not; so get clear about the influence you want to have, the impact you want to have on them and then BE that.
‘Don’t do what I say, do what I do’ isn’t enough.
Kids can see right through words and actions and deep into our what we truly believe about ourselves and them.
Our young people are watching and learning from our every action so being YOUR best will encourage them to be THEIR best. Look within. The easiest way for your child to love themselves is to for you to love yourself. Lead with love and compassion. Shine. Make your own story so compelling that they want to be a part of it.
The son I have before me is pure gold and I love him with my heart and soul…and accept him for who he IS and I’ll continue to support him make good choices and be a good human. For him to lead with love.
I have made so many mistakes along the way and I will continue to do so, and I own every one of them. Yes, I’ve felt disappointed and I’ve told him so….I’ve told him about the story I created in my head, the person I made him into and what I’d love him to do and I’ve asked him to share with me the story HE is creating for HIS life and who he wants to be.
He doesn’t know yet, he’s not clear, he looks at me like it’s motivational mum time…again. I felt another twinge of disappointment that my first born doesn’t get nor care for his conscious creation (he’s 17 so feel free to laugh at my ridiculously high expectations!) So yes, I have felt disappointed in my child, that he isn’t living the life I had created in my imagination but oh my goodness how excited I am to discover the life is HE is creating in his.
Have you felt disappointed in your child? I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.
Because I was “guided” in my choices by my well-intentioned mother and have ended up drifting from job to job because I didn’t get to pursue my passion, all we ever really put onto our own kids was “do what you love to do”. We are fortunate that they were determined to do that well, but the overriding thing was that it was their choice. But only from my own experience of not really choosing for myself!
It’s funny how our passion never leaves us…it may be suppressed but it’s there, willing us to find ways to release it into the world! It’s still important for you to find that way to express yours….you’ve given your kids the gift of pursuing their passions and they’ll look to you again when they are adults as to how they can create what they want even when life seems to get in the way.
I don’t believe our job has to be directly related to our passion…it’s how we infuse our passion in our life and work.