“Ungrateful children,” “ungrateful teenagers,” and “kids these days.” I’m so tired of these expressions.
We are under this illusion that our children owe us something for bringing them into the world and causing us to make sacrifices for them.
I think it’s time to stop putting the weight of our world on our children’s shoulders and start taking responsibility for our own choices.
Any two people can have sex and many of them end up making a baby. This in itself does not entitle you to be respected. If you think you had anything to do with bringing a child into this world I encourage you to think again. That child, that soul chose you to be its parent. That child is a gift from God/dess. How have you treated that gift?
We act as if we have to sacrifice for our children. You chose to be a parent—you did! We need to stop treating our children as if they’re property. You don’t own another human being.
I watched a video of Sadhguru recently and he said it beautifully:
“Drop this damn thing that your child belongs to you. If you think this child belongs to you, when he’s just coming into his teens, he’s telling you; ‘Goddammit, I don’t belong to you.’ That’s all he’s trying to tell you, but you’re not able to digest. Another life does not belong to you. If another life has chosen to be with you, please cherish that. It’s a tremendous thing.”
Hopefully you have been able to give your child the things they need like shelter, food, clothes, and education. If you did, then good for you. Welcome to parenthood!
Respect is earned, not given freely.
Parenting is hard and full of challenges, I know. But it’s also full of so much joy and breathtaking beauty. What we choose to focus on will bring us more of the same.
When we feel we’re being disrespected by our child it’s important to look within. Where are you yourself being disrespectful? Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world and the triggers (such as a disrespectful child) that show up are signposts for healing.
Rather than yelling or bullying them, have a conversation. If they don’t want to talk, give them space but let them know you are there for them.
A disrespectful attitude is often a sign that they are going through something and don’t know how to verbalize it. Yelling and anger only encourages them to suppress their emotions.
The last thing we need as a society are more adults walking around with suppressed emotions, wouldn’t you agree?
I have learned so much from my children, mostly because I’ve always been open to learning from them. I’m certainly not a perfect parent. We have definitely had our screaming matches and tantrums from both me and them. But, I’m learning like everyone else. I think as a parent the most important tool we have is an open mind. Approaching parenthood with the belief that we know everything, and certainly more than our children simply because we’re the adult is narrow minded.
As with all things, approaching anything with a closed mind will only cause us and others pain. We can’t learn anything new this way. Be open. For your children as much as yourself.
Be open to learning. Be open to another opinion, your child’s opinion. Be open to change. Be willing to admit when you’re wrong. And apologize! Every time you mess up, apologize. Because if you believe your child owes you an apology when they mess up, then they certainly deserve the same. Respect.
Do you remember what it was like to be a child, a teenager?
Do you remember how difficult it was?
Do you remember who you were before everyone started telling you who you were supposed to be?
This is not an easy transition and I think the best thing we can do for our children is remember our own truths, focus on our own healing, and offer compassion and empathy to the ones now walking in the paths we’ve tread before.
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