Ahhhh, parenting. One of life's greatest blessings and biggest challenges all rolled into one. I've said this many times to many people; You're going to fuck up your kids. Not in the same way your parents fucked you up, but in new ways by overcompensating for what you believe were your parent's mistakes.
Most of us want to do better and give our children a better life than we had. However, there is no manual, there is no "right" way and we're imperfect humans dealing with our own shit too.
Some of my biggest life failures and hardest lessons came from motherhood. I did not have a safe or comfortable childhood, so I made it my life mission to provide that for my daughter. However, in doing so, I robbed her of the opportunity to learn from her mistakes, problem solve and overcome adversity. By overcompensating, I created an environment that was too safe and too comfortable. I protected her from hurt and heartache, instead of allowing those to teach her about healing, forgiveness and compassion. I was so caught up in providing her a better life and upholding my image, that I failed to be present and enjoy the journey. I had a fear of being seen, so when my very spirited child was being ridiculously goofy in public, I made her tone it down for fear of her being embarrassed or made fun of. I thought all of these things were for her protection, but really they were harming her and hindering her ability to function as an adult in the real world.
I know other parents who want so badly for their kids to like them, or be their BFF, that the parent/child lines are blurred. Or because they felt like they had no say as a kid, they allow their children too much say and have created an unhealthy imbalance of authority with no boundaries.
I've learned we can't protect our kids from life. This is how they learn. What we can do is love them unconditionally, not just let them be goofy, but celebrate their unique character, create a safe space with structure, openly communicate (even the tough shit) and set the example. In order to parent better, you have to be willing to do the inner work. If you are not happy and well-balanced, how can you expect your children to be?
Again, there is no manual or "right" way. We all make mistakes. I am no parenting expert, but I have learned a lot over the years and I encourage you to start to think about your parenting style and analyze if your choices are:
One of the most important lessons we can teach our children, in my humble opinion, is accountability; genuinely apologize when you make a mistake, cause it's going to happen.
Here's to another week of living your life by design, not by default!