When you become a parent, I think it’s natural to have expectations and preconceived ideas of what the little person you have created is going to be like. Imagining the future and what that could look like is perfectly natural.
But as they grow, you begin to see them become this little person who is unique and special in their own ways. At that point, you should let go of the ideas and expectations you had in your mind at the beginning. At that point it requires growing as a parent yourself. Because this child, this little human being you are raising, is their very own little person. They have ideas and personality and a spirit all their own.
Accepting that little human is your job as a parent.
Your job is not to mold them into who you want them to become.
Your job is not to tear down their spirit and build it up to your expectations.
Your child is not your blank slate to create on, nor are they your clay to mold, nor a miniature version of you. Your child is a person, growing and learning and figuring out their place in the world. We as parents should open that space for them. We should teach, celebrate, guide, and love.
Who are we to judge?
We are people, too, imperfect and learning ourselves. We have no manual, no copy of what life and parenting are supposed to be. We are all on this lifelong journey to find ourselves.
We need to learn our children are who they are supposed to be. They are different from us and that’s okay.
Editor’s note: I’m reminded of the book Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon which discusses children who are very different from their parents in various ways. Grab it here if you want to read more about this topic. Here’s a quick take…
“Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us all. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter. All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent parents should accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves.”