Circa March 2, 2012
We’ve all done it–pictured our kids as the child prodigy of something or other or the mirror of all the good things we were as a child. I’ve exposed my kids to a lot of different activities in an effort to help them find their niche, but have selfishly begged them to like the things I like. But I’m finding that as they get older my opinion matters, well, less. So what do you do when your dreams and their dreams are different? Let’s discuss.
Your kids aren’t you. No matter how hard we try to kids to act the way we want them to, they develop their own likes, and there isn’t anything we can do to stop it. My oldest son is obsessed with Fedoras and wearing thin, checkered ties to school. I’d rather he wear surf shirts and board shorts. It’s not him. My other son is really great at singing, but would rather play the trombone than be in the chorus–I’d pick chorus any day. I had to get over it.
Encourage individuality. As tweens and teenagers, they’re finding themselves. Who am I to stifle their individuality? So, what do I do? I buy checkered ties from Hot Topic and I pay for that damn trombone rental every month, and I do it with a smile and encouragement; then I bitch to the hubs. CAUTION: There is a fine line between individuality and “gone off the deep end.” It doesn’t mean you should let your kids decide the important stuff: how much things cost, whether they are age appropriate, whether the honey badger t-shirt, despite it’s coolness, will get them kicked out of school. They may be individuals, but you are still the adult. Make good decisions for them.
Praise Your Differences. “I think it’s awesome that you found something that you like that isn’t necessarily thing we like.” Yeah, choke down those words, even if they don’t feel natural at first. What surprised me is that eventually it’s how I really started to feel. In the end, we all want our kids to be happy. If ties and trombones are the route Frick and Frack take, so be it. Let your kids do the same.