Who struggles to find that balance between encouraging your child to be the best or highest version of themselves and just letting them be?
My daughter has not been motivated to get her temporary driver’s license because she doesn’t feel like studying for it.
She wants to be a strong athlete and yet has no plan as to how to get there (beyond going to practice.)
I am a very different person—very driven, goal-oriented and focused.
This is honestly hard for me at times, as her parent, to know how to most effectively support her.
When this scenario comes to mind, I find phrases such as “pushing them to improve”, words like “better”, that involve force, and levels tend to pop up.
Of course, the way our world is right now, we know that there are levels when it comes to sports, music and academics.
There are levels of athletics: JV and Varsity.
There are levels of music—you can think back to old your piano books growing up.
There are levels that we call “grades” in school—1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.
If our children are in traditional school, they are likely given marks that we call “grades”—A, B+, F… to measure how well they've memorized or absorbed something and can spit it back out.
In our current human reality, unfortunately, there is a lot of measurement, which can cause a lot of pain.
It can cause a lot of stress, causing us to be down on and judge, label, etc. ourselves based on how we “measure up.”
I will not go into all of this at this time.
I just want to look at how to balance it all, given that we are living in this world at this time.
Intuition: this is where our intuition comes into play.
This is where we as caregivers, parents and mentors need to put our desires and goals for our children and those we are mentoring aside.
We can see greatness in them.
What we need to see is their soul.
What we need to listen to, is what their heart is saying.
It might not be spoken in actual words.
It will much more likely be communicated through actions or lack thereof.
As guides to these little ones, we need to go inward and check our own hearts and intentions to make sure that we are not trying to live a dream through them.
Maybe it was something your heart desperately wanted that just did not come to fruition for you. I can tell you that it does not feel good to your children to feel as though they are upon being moved strategically to fulfill your dreams for your life that did not come to fruition.
It can make them feel used and controlled as though they are merely a pawn—your hand moving them strategically from one activity, one level, to the next.
As a child, it can actually feel as though the parent is checking the boxes so that they can see these things finally play out for themselves.
Most parents are not doing this from a place of malintent. They do it from an unconscious place.
Let’s not beat ourselves up as we all unconsciously fall into this tendency at times.
Let's just make sure that before we have these types of “improvement,” “bettering” themselves conversations with our children, prodding them on to the next thing, level, the next experience… that we are really in tune with our own hearts and the frequency in which we are sitting.
Are we feeling anxious?
Are we feeling like our child is going to miss out if they don’t do this “thing” or become this “thing” or move to the next level?
Are we in comparison—comparing our child to someone else?
Are we in judgment—judging them because they are not where we are or were at their age?
Maybe they are farther along, so we think as a “good” parent, we must push them even harder because obviously they have an incredible gift.
There is no shame in any of these things. They are not to be judged.
Let’s just make sure that our hearts are clear when we have these types of conversations with our children or when you make those decisions for your child if they're too young to make them for themselves.
Whenever you feel you are pushing them, be aware that there is resistance involved.
Pushing is not where life is found. Flow is where life is found.
If you're going down a path that has lots and lots of resistance, it may be time to reassess why this is happening.
It could be that you are pushing them into something their soul is not destined to do or ready for at this time.
Maybe their heart is not in it.
This is where and when we need to step aside and let them lead.
They came here with incredible gifts.
Our job is not to fill them full of stuff—full of whatever we think they need.
No. Our job is to provide a nurturing environment with lots of love and support, giving them safe boundaries and then sit back and watch them blossom.
We are here to give them opportunities, experiences, freedom, play, lots of time to explore outdoors.
This life is about exploration for all of us as humans.
It's about each of us finding our own way with love, nurturing and healthy boundaries. This is what we are here to provide for our children as well.
The love, nurturing and boundaries we create for and share with them help them blossom and explore with a sense of safety.
They can then freely and joyfully explore with curiosity—within and without.
That's our job.
This is how we love our children.
This is how we nurture our children.
This is what our children want, whether they have the words or boldness to communicate it or not.
Sometimes as a child, it can feel scary to use your voice.
It can feel that way even as a teenager or adult at times.
As an adult that doesn’t want to disappoint anyone, it can be hard to use your voice and say,
“No, I don't want to do that.”
“I’m not going on that vacation.”
“Our family needs downtime.”
“I don't want to do that activity.“
"I don't agree with you on that”…whatever it is.
So think about it from your child's perspective.
It's even harder for them to use their voice, so we can take these opportunities to tune in.
We get to really observe them and their behavior because they're likely making it very clear to us and there is a chance we've just been bowling over what they have been saying without using their words. It is just as likely that we were simply unaware.
In finding that balance, there's not a simple answer, but there is a way.
That way is to check in with your own heart and make sure that you're tuned in with your child.
Make sure that you are clear and centered enough in your own authenticity and soul's purpose, your own reason for being here on this earth in this lifetime that you can give your child the gift of allowing them to explore what their path is, without you interfering.
We have the special honor of setting the boundaries for their benefit, pouring in the love, nurturing them and watching them flower into the beautiful souls that they already are.
This, my friend, is setting you AND your child up to experience authentic flow and joy as you explore along the path of your unique journeys!