Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Our Children Are Not Our Masterpieces"

There is one more quote from Lori Gottlieb's article that inspired me, from Wendy Mogel: 
Our children are not our masterpieces.

This one, I agree with wholeheartedly.

To me, parenting is not an art, although there can be a lot of creativity involved, because our children are not lifeless raw materials, waiting to be shaped by our input. Parenting is not a science, although there can be research and experimenting involved, because there are no formulas or equations to follow.

We don't get to control whether our children will ever "land" in therapy. We don't get to control how independent they will be, or even how happy they will be.

Will they land in therapy? I don't know.
We don't need to listen to the experts about how much our children should depend on us. Or how much freedom of choice they should have. Our children can be our guides on these things. Our children are the experts on themselves. They know when they need us, and when they would rather figure things out on their own.

We don't need to listen to experts who warn against being "too attuned" to our children. If we truly are attuned to our children, then we are listening to and understanding and responding to their needs.

To me, parenting is all about the relationships. A child's relationship with a parent is the first and likely the longest one he will have in his life.

Each parent has a unique chance to show her child how wonderful relationships can be. Each parent can allow her child to live and grow with trust and unconditional love and acceptance, and with someone who responds to his needs.

That child may then seek those qualities in all his important relationships, throughout his life. But if someone never experiences those things, how will he know what to look for?

Parents would be wise to ask themselves:
Does my child know what a wonderful relationship looks like and feels like? Would I be happy for my child if he surrounded himself with other people who treat him as I do?

More from me on Gottlieb’s article:

Part 5: Is Independence Good Or Bad?
Part 6: "Our Children Are Not Our Masterpieces"