As an individual, we crave the freedom to dress as we like, wear what is comfortable, listen to the music that soothes our soul, and conduct ourselves in the manner we find suitable. Now, as a parent, we crave our children to listen to ALL of our advice, share our vision, dress in the image we find suitable, listen to “good” music, choose friends that we like, succeed in school, and enjoy the profession we are comfortable with. Although our misguided intentions are from love, we easily find a disconnect between our desire for independence and the insight to cater to our children’s same wants.
I was 21 when I gave birth to my oldest daughter, Gen, and I feel we have really grown up together. I also feel that given my age, I did have an easier time with letting the small things go. When I say small things, I mean: Wearing princess dresses to the store, wearing pants backwards because we simply like it, not brushing our hair, listening to Billy Joel on repeat for months, and even allowing my youngest to rock a 10 inch Mohawk.
As I get older, I find myself listening more to my inner voice and the annoying advice of others to reign in my children’s individuality when it comes to choices and preferences. Comments that I need to give strong boundaries and that my children need to learn the rules of society bring a lot more moral dilemmas than they did when I was younger. Then, I slap myself in the face and remember that values are not taught by whether or not my daughter brushes her hair or wears baggy t-shirts and jeans. They are taught by modeling what is right and wrong, by emphasizing what matters, and by trust.
So, I have decided to put away my mold and to continue to embrace the spirit of my strong-willed children. So, if we ever cross paths walking down the street and you see my oldest in her pink wig, shorts, baggy t-shirt, and winter boots, my middle daughter with too tight skinny jeans and crooked pony tail, and my son speaking like a pro-wrestler… Take a second before you judge their inner worth and remember children crave their freedom to choose just as much as you and I.
Taking it one day at a time
-Parenting without Blinders-