In today’s chaotic world of overscheduling alongside the pressure they experience both in and out of the classroom, kids yearn to know they are appreciated and accepted. Mighty Mommy shares five ways you can tune in to your child and practice total acceptance no matter how busy life gets.
4. Let Go of Expectations
One of the most difficult reasons parents struggle to accept their children could be because of the preconceived expectations you had for your child before they were even born. Did you have your heart set on your daughter following in your artistic footsteps, only to find she couldn't care less about sketching a drawing of a fruit bowl and would rather learn how to use a toolbox instead? Or maybe dad was sure his son would be a starting quarterback just like he was, but his boy is more effeminate and would rather take acting lessons than even look at a football.
These are just two of many scenarios that families face when struggling to accept a child that is cultivating their own interests, or is not fulfilling a physical role like that of a tough athlete but instead is following a creative muse.
Now what? You’re not going to love your child any less because they're pursuing their own interests, right?
As her parent, you need to step back and appreciate the gifts that they do have and celebrate their unique abilities as an individual. That’s unconditional love, and it’s one of the best gifts you can ever give your children.
I’ve shared the story of three of my children having significant language delays. In fact, one of my daughters didn’t speak until she was almost five. When we were struggling with these learning disabilities I was introduced to a wonderful poem, Welcome to Holland written by Emily Perl Kingsley. This poignant reflection is the heartfelt perspective of a parent raising a child with a disability. I can’t tell you how helpful and comforting this poem was to me some 20 years ago. It helped me realize that although my speech-delayed children wouldn’t be learning the same as their peer group (or even their own siblings) they were going to achieve their goals in their own special way, and that was just fine.
When you let go of the expectations you thought would define your child, you open the door for appreciating the wonderful person that they already are, and will be able to delight in the potential that awaits them.
5. Look For the Positive
No matter how difficult the situation you are facing with your child may seem, don’t forget to look for that silver lining and focus on the positive rather than on what your child isn’t doing to please you.
One of my favorite parenting books is Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide by Rebecca Eanes. This book is full of great tips that will leave you feeling empowered as a parent—not drained.
Regardless of whether the outcome you’re currently dealing with is temporary (he’s dyed his hair blue right before the family reunion) or more permanent (she isn’t college bound and instead wants to work at a tattoo parlor with her new boyfriend), be thankful for having this child in your life, and let them know you’re grateful to be their parent.
Try this: “Honey, blue is definitely your color, it brings out the sparkle in your eyes." Or: “Having a full-time job is important if you’re not going to pursue college at this time. Maybe you’ll decide to go back to school part-time once you get a schedule established.”
When your kids know they can count on you to support them and not judge them, they’ll be more likely to come to you in good times and in bad.
How do you practice acceptance with your family? Share your thoughts in the comment section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy or post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or email me at email@example.com.