Loving Your Child For Who They Are Versus Who You Thought They Might Be
From the moment pregnancy is discovered, an unborn baby already has several different futures mapped out for itself by everybody who knows of his/her existence. People can't help but think and dream about what a new baby will be like once they enter the world. We envision everything from physical appearance to what future career the child may hold, and because humans are inherently self-centered, all of our predictions and hopes are usually based off our own life experiences and interests. All of this is good and fine, for what is life without dreams? Problems, however, can arise when our expectations just don't match with reality, and we are left to reconcile the child we've dreamed about with the child that's actually in front of us.
Giving your child the opportunity to become their own person, free of your biases and desires, can be one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. To let this growth occur, you must truly practice selfless and unconditional love. Of course, there's nothing wrong with sharing your passions with your children, or encouraging them towards one path or another, but at a certain point, you must remember you are not the one in control. There is a very real, uncontrollable variable when raising children, and it is the fact you and your child are not the same, which means no matter how much you will it, your child may not conform to the plans you have for them.
It can be really hard to see a dream go unfulfilled, and it brings all sorts of negative emotions and feelings to the surface, like feelings of mourning, failure, and disappointment. Don't allow those feelings to linger, though. Acknowledge your feelings of sadness/anger/bitterness, or whatever other feelings you may have, and then let them go. It is only then, once you have worked through your own feelings and let your dream for them go, you can start over, and accept and take on the dream your child has planned for themselves. You'll find you will receive just as much joy, if not more, watching your child chase after and achieve their dream, rather than a dream of your own. And you never know, sometimes we can get lucky, and our children will have some of the same dreams for themselves as we have for them.
Either way, challenge yourself to look past the perfect, dream-version of the child your head created, and see the child that is in front of you for who they are. Don't you think it's it worth it to discover who your child actually is? You must accept the fact your child may be different from the person you envisioned them to be and have different plans for their life than you had for them. However, you'll likely come to see their own unique identity and dreams are even better than anything you could have imagined or planned for them.
What do you think? Have you ever struggled with letting go of a dream you had for your child? Were you surprised by the dreams your child came up with for themselves? How has loving your child for who they are changed your relationship? Comment down below, I'd love to hear your thoughts.