If you watch enough reality TV you will be disturbed by the people that paint a picture of parenting. Especially the parents that try to live vicariously through their children.
I am sure you have seen what happens when these parents try to live through their kids. There is a line between taking a healthy interest in your child’s achievement and using them to fulfill your own ambitions.
You may be thinking, but my child is young and I wouldn’t do that. Surprisingly, living through your kids can start when they are toddlers as well.
Check out these tips to encourage your child’s individuality and personal action steps to prevent yourself from becoming one of those parents I mentioned.
Personal Action Steps
Here are some personal steps that you can take with living your best life and preventing yourself from living through your children.
Come to terms with your childhood
Start by coming to terms with your childhood expectations and your current reality. Just because you were not able to have certain things as a child doesn’t mean that you little want those things now.
Really take time to reflect on what you may have struggled with when you are younger and understand that that time has passed.
Then, focus on what you do have instead of what you could’ve had.
Live in the present
It’s natural to feel some nostalgia for your high school days. But, instead of spending too much time reflecting on your reign as prom queen, remind yourself of all the blessings you enjoy today.
Once you start thinking and almost living in the past, you miss out on what is happening right now in the present.
Set new goals
It is so easy as a mom to get stuck in the rut of taking care of everyone else and neglecting ourselves. Know that there’s always time to create new goals to strive for.
Make a commitment to go mountain climbing or renovate your basement. Figure out what you need to do to start your own blog or advance yourself at work.
Doing this will take your focus off of your children and making their achievements your own. Remember, you need to live your life and they need to live their own life that they create.
Learn something new
Never stop learning. Now it is so easy to learn a new language or skill with everything at our fingertips.
Go ahead try taking some online courses that you have been interested in. Or maybe even work on becoming fluent in Mandarin.
Whatever you do, never stop learning or perfecting your skill.
Accept your age
It’s easier to watch your kids grow up when you’re comfortable with your own identity. Remind yourself that you are not a kid anymore and be comfortable with the age you are now.
Dispel media stereotypes about seniors and search for inspiring role models.
Work with your partner
Child rearing works best when you’re both on the same page.
Spend some time talking to your husband your concerns you may have about your kids.
Open communication will help you evaluate your actions and make adjustments.
Build lasting legacies
Keep fleeting events in perspective. The love and respect between you and your children matter more than hitting a home run at a Little League game.
Steps to Take with Your Kids
Recognize your child’s individuality
Acknowledge that each child is a unique being. It will help protect you from assuming they’re an extension of you.
Listen to your children
Pay attention to the aspirations of your children. Their words and actions reveal their interests.
Childhood is a time of discovery. Share their excitement about drama club or a soccer game.
Visit the library together and plan memorable vacations. Buy a family membership at your local art or natural history museum.
Apply pressure wisely
Excessive force can push people in the opposite direction. If your son falls behind in Algebra, talk with the teacher rather than imposing unreasonable study hours.
Provide positive attention
Sometimes we admire our kids for rebelling a little. Even when their pranks are amusing, reinforce values about being responsible and considerate. Create a healthy balance between discipline and praise.
Send clear signals
We may also feel some sadness or resentment if someone else gets something we wanted for ourselves.
Maybe you looked forward to becoming a doctor but couldn’t afford the tuition. Now it’s your child who graduates from medical school. Celebrate their achievements.
Congratulate yourself for giving them greater opportunities.
Watch for signs of burnout
Spending more time with friends may leave them refreshed and rejuvenated. Alternating between different sports can prevent boredom and overuse injuries.
Be encouraging even when your kids decline to follow in your footsteps. Each individual has their own preferences. Demonstrate your enthusiasm by providing the resources they need to cultivate whatever hobbies they choose. Share their struggles and commend them on their efforts.
Focus on your own development and give your children enough room to pursue their own dreams. You’ll all be rewarded with close family connections and more fulfilling lives.
This post is a part of the series 31 Days of Parenting Tips for Busy Moms With Young Kids. Each day throughout the series I am discussing a different topic regarding parenting young kids. I’d love for you to follow along and share this series with moms who may need some support or just to hear that they aren’t alone in their journey of raising young kids.
Find all of the posts in one place on the series homepage: 31 Days of Parenting Tips for Busy Moms With Young Kids