As parents, we set unnecessarily high expectations about our kids. We don’t expect them to smoke, drink or make friends with people who may have a poor track record. We want them to be great kids who are focused and always looking forward to perform better in school and their extra curricular activities. We want them to be what we were not able to be.
How differently parents build expectations about their kids vary quite considerably with the societal values. For instance, the Asian parents put a lot more pressure on their kids to perform better with their studies, as compared to Americans, or British. Having a community of parents in California is like a multicultural congregation where I meet mothers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Manchester, Canada, Israel, and it’s unbelievable how each one of them has a different attitude towards their kids.
For instance, the Sri Lankan mother who has been part of our “community of mothers” seems to be highly insecure of his son’s performance at high school. If she ever raises a question during our parental sessions, it’s always about how to encourage her son to perform better with his studies. And honestly, I never know what to say to her about that.
Then comes the American parents who are more concerned with their kids’ safety over anything else. They are all right if their kids end up passing their math test but they aren’t fine if their kids are into nasty stuff. Americans parent their kids differently to how others Asian do.
But the point is: Do we need to accept our kids for who they are? Or do we need to try to find out if what they are doing is what they should be doing. It’s a complicated question and there isn’t a simple answer to that. Accepting our kids for who they are seems like a viable option, but how many of us are really up for it is another enigma? Note that there is a difference between your kids’ choices and their distinct behavioral characteristics. And that means, even if your child thinks he or she is attracted to the same sex, you might want to find that out first if it’s really the case or if your child is just confused. Well, I am just trying to explain that it’s a possibility that your child is not gay, but they could end up with making a wrong decision. Or it’s possible that they may never find out about their sexuality until they are past their teenage just because there was no one to help them discover that.
It might be difficult for your kids to determine what they really want, and that’s when the role of parents become too important. There is another instance where kids could end up with making wrong career decisions, or sometimes, it’s possible that they are making the right decision, but it’s you who force them to do something that they really don’t want to do.
As I said, it could be a tough thing to find out what your kids really want from their lives.
Your role as a parent
Your job as a parent is to help your kids make the right decision that would be beneficial for them for the rest of their lives.
The only way to know if your child is making the right decision is to be with them; to be close to them just as they are to their friends. This way, they will open up to you and will share their insights about different things. You have to be careful and trustworthy so that your kids are able to share their personal lives and musings without fearing any sort of repercussions.
Once you have derived what your kids really want, it’s time for you to help them be what they want; so if it means walking your child down the aisle for a gay wedding, that has to be it.
And while I am sharing my personal anecdotes, it’s not necessary that other parents need to have a similar belief. My life got much better when I realized that my son is outgoing and he loves to stay out with his friends, or that he likes to smoke hookah. Sometimes, it’s not possible for you to do something about a situation, so it’s important for you to accept it, so that your kids won’t shy away from you. For instance, when I didn’t know that my child smokes hookah he would visit his friends too often to have hookah sessions, but now, he calls over his friends to my place. This way, I have been able to ensure that my son is all right and not moving forward with other sort of drugs.
When you will accept your kids for who they really are, you, as a parent, would become more contended with your life. You would know that your child is pursuing those things in their life that they really want to be. And then, it could also mean that your kids will also try to understand you more, leading to consensual decision making where parents would be taking their kids’ consent before making a decision and vice versa.
Even though I pointed this out quite often during this read, I would say it again: Don’t buy what your child tells you right away. It’s possible that they aren’t certain what they want from their life, so before telling them “yes, I am with you”, try to find out if that’s what they really want. And if there is something about them that doesn’t confine to the rules of the society, it’s up to you how to make your child stand for who they really are.
This blog post is very close to my heart because I faced a lot of difficulties when my son told me that he wants to be a ballerina. I had all sorts of questions in my mind, but once I decided I would be supportive, it wasn’t a tough decision to make. Help your child, accept them for what they truly are, that’s what parenting is all about.
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