I’m sorry, but when parents say their children are their whole world, I honestly throw up in my mouth a little bit. Because really!? Your whole world? You have nothing else going on in your life that pleases or excites you?
It’s a given that parents love their kids. Of course we do. We will never feel the kind of fiercely protective love we feel for our children for anyone else. But saying they are our whole world, and really believing it, isn’t good for anyone.
Think of it this way: imagine you went around saying your boyfriend or your husband was your whole world. That nothing else mattered but him. Now, if you have a half-decent girlfriend, hopefully she would give you a little slap to snap you out of it. Because it doesn’t sound healthy, does it? Your friend should tell you to get a life, find some other interests, get a hobby. Basically not to pin all your hopes and dreams and expectations on that one man. And why? Because it’s preventing you from having your own life and following your own passion.
And it also puts too much pressure on HIM. If he’s your whole world and he screws up, as humans are bound to do from time to time, then what?
If someone said to me, “you are my whole world,” it wouldn’t make me go all misty-eyed like they do in the romance movies. It would instantly make me feel uncomfortable, because I don’t WANT to be someone’s whole world. That’s a lot of responsibility. I’d like to be a part of their life, even an important part, but I don’t want to be their everything. I want to be have some freedom to be who I am and do what I enjoy without constantly worrying that someone else’s very existence hinges on me. Yikes!
It’s the same for kids. When they have parents whose entire lives revolve around them it can actually create a lot of anxiety, which is the opposite of what the parent wants. Kids need space to develop and grow and become successful adults. Of course it’s important for them to know they are loved and precious and special, but they do not need to think they are their parents’ reason for being.
I believe it’s actually good parenting for parents to stay true to themselves and continue to grow and learn and take risks and keep finding out who they are and what matters to them. Becoming a parent who only caters to their child and has no life of their own outside of dance recitals and hockey practices and cooking lasagnas and cleaning toilets will not model how to be a healthy, happy person. It’s okay for your child to know that there are other things that interest you in this world. In fact, it’s necessary.
So if you find that you’re starting to focus too much on your kids, take some time to get in touch with who you were before you had them and take some baby steps toward making changes in your life. Take a Spanish class, learn to ballroom dance, take up golfing…whatever it is, remember that you deserve to take care of yourself and do things that interest you.
After all, this is your life too.
Speaking of independence; do you find yourself dependent on the hope that your child won’t act up by throwing a tantrum, or misbehaving? If so, you can check out Kids: The Manual. It’s a discipline system designed to correct some of the most common behavior challenges in children aged 2 – 12; while teaching your child to behave well independently!
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