Your Child Isn’t Your Trophy

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Our children are our greatest accomplishment. We marvel at how we’ve brought such loving, bright and shiny souls into this world. Wow! We made these perfect beings; we can’t help but relish in the ultimate trophy we’ve been fortunate enough to receive.

We see our little ones as blank slates; beautiful tiny humans that have endless possibilities ahead of them. We do everything in our power to give our children the lives we never had, the opportunities we could’ve only dreamed of.

Here’s the thing. Our children come into this world with their own spirit, their own calling. As much as we’ve daydreamed about their future weddings, careers and families (complete with grandchildren), we eventually realize they have their own path, their own true desires and gifts to give the world. Most of the time, their path is not exactly aligned with the path we would have chosen.

Sure, we can guide our children into playing baseball just like dad or competitive dance like mom, but let’s not attach to family traditions. Sure, we want our children to graduate with honors at Harvard, but let’s not attach to education. Sure, we want our children to have a large group of friends, but let’s not attach to social expectations.

You might be asking, “Am I supposed to just let my child sit on the couch and not strive for anything in life?” Of course not! It’s our job to ensure our children are healthy in all aspects of their lives but we must be vigilant in preventing ourselves from falling into society’s trap of measuring happiness based on trophies, awards, and achievements.

As much as we think parenting is all about the child, parenting really comes down to parenting ourselves. You see, we must know our own self-worth so that our children know theirs. When you love yourself no matter what you’ve accomplished or achieved, your child will learn to do the same.

Here’s an example, if you are constantly beating yourself up over the unfolded laundry or your inundated, unanswered inbox at work, your child is also picking up that “doing” is what life is about; if you aren’t in the “doing” mode you should be upset, unhappy and unfulfilled.

The earlier in our child’s life we accept our self-worth, the less tension, stress, and guilt we free our children of down the road. Gone are the days of children feeling like they’ll never earn their parents approval. Your child will know your love is unconditional instead of it being contingent on the perfect GPA, weight, sexual orientation or marital status.

When we accept ourselves as whole, we welcome our authentic self to the table. A self that isn’t defined by external measures, is true self acceptance.  When we do this work not only will it free us from the endless flow of  stress but it will also pave a path of love and acceptance for our children. If you’re looking to start this work today, here’s a way to start excavating what’s inside of you.

  • Pause to examine what expectations of success, tradition, skill or achievement you expect of your child.
  • Are you attached to any image of success for your child, whether it be academically, socially, financially or physically?
  • What feelings arise when your child’s idea of a happy life doesn’t align with your idea of a happy life?

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Erin Morrison, EdM, MA, CPCCP. Erin is a Conscious Parenting Practitioner specializing in healing & expansion of the self, relationship and parenting areas in your life. Erin can be followed on Instagram @itstheconsciousmom and you can check out her website at www.theconsciousmom.com.

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