Child rearing differs across cultures, but in our society in the United States, the goal of raising children is so that they can grow up to be happy and independent adults. We take on the responsibility of raising a child in order to make sure that they adapt to the challenges and requirements of living in the modern world.
This means that your role is to provide them with the tools and guidance they need to grow up to be their own person that is able to go out into the world and discover who they are as individuals.
Watching Your Own Behaviors
The goal is to help them become independent. But because that can mean different things for different people, one of the most important parts of parenting is taking inventory of how you are acting and what you are prepping them for. One thing to be aware of is whether or not you are projecting your needs onto them, rather than truly guiding them into the world.
Often, we see our children as an extension of ourselves. We may even, intentionally or unintentionally, see them as a way to satisfy our egos. We may be pushing them for success not because it is the right way to guide them, but because we want to be able to show people our kids our successful or prove that because our kids are successful, so too are we.
But that is not how children thrive. It neither guides them towards the path they need to follow, nor is likely to prepare them for the challenges ahead. It may even drive them in a direction you do not want them to go. If you really do want your child to be prepared for their sake, it becomes important to take yourself out of the picture:
- Learn about who your child is and work with that person, so that you can help them evolve into the best person they can be.
- Recognize when you’re not assisting them the way they need and course correct in a way that is advantageous to their development.
- Reduce your own expectations. Not because your child can’t be successful but because the definition of success may be different depending on who your child is.
Parenting is meant to prepare your child for adulthood. In order to do that, you have to look at what your child needs – not what you need for them. Only then will you really be able to point your child towards the direction that will bring them the most success.