Rule with an Iron Fist

August 18, 2011

As human beings, we judge. As parents, we must judge and hold our children to a higher standard. We need to teach them our values and by doing that we are required to resist decisions they make that falter from our values. How do we hold our children to these expectations while being open minded that their choices aren’t necessarily the same as the ones we’d choose for them?

There were times growing up that I thought my family was so strict and narrow minded. Who doesn’t feel that way growing up unless you live with a traveling circus?!? But because the expectations of me were set so high, I reached them. I knew it wouldn’t be acceptable for me to do anything else. So rather than being raised by dictators, my parents must have done something right because I turned out all right.

What if the expectations you set for your children are unrealistic? What if you set the bar too unattainable? What if Gabby wants to be a mountain climber?

You hear about children that ruin their life and don’t ever make something of themselves. Is it because those parents allowed that behavior? Should I stop her from climbing the stairs in fear of her becoming a mountain climber? Or is it because their parents needed to re-evaluate the bar to be specific to that child and the challenges they are up against. For instance, what if you have a bright, driven child, should their expectations be the same as their sibling that is less ambitious? Is it fair to have different expectations for different children?

I blamed my family for not giving me the opportunity to be anything less than what they thought was best for me. I blamed my family for requiring things of me, but in turn I did something with myself. Does parenting require expectations set up ahead of time? And how does parenting evolve when you realize that your kids are taking a different path? I want my children to go to college, get a job and settle down and have a family. If my child chooses to join a rock band and not accomplish any of that, at what point do I embrace this rock star life?

Is it possible to set requirements for your family and be open minded about the results?

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