Refreshing, isn’t it? Not being blamed for every problem your child has? Let me point out that your intentions are good most of the time (who doesn’t occasionally want to strike out before walking away?) Being a parent is a huge job. Really, really huge and since none of us here on this earth are perfect, we screw up sometimes. This is not to say we can’t learn. We can. Actually, parenting and intimate relationships are filled with learning opportunities.
You can’t fully take advantage of learning opportunities when you’re busy beating yourself up with regret. It tends to block the learning.
It’s important to mention that children have minds of their own. They have–tiny at first–the ability to self-direct. Of course, we parents are hugely important. Your parents had a big impact on you(for good or bad) and you have a big impact on your kids. But as kids grow into adults, we parents have to gradually step back. My husband and I are constantly checking to make sure we’re being supportive (we’ve moved them 20 times as they’ve worked toward their professional degrees) without sticking our noses into their private business.
This is a difficult concept for many parents–that adult children have a right to making their own choices.
Parenting is tremendously complicated and very, very important, but parents only bear the responsibility for their own choices. The parents actions or non-actions. Kids–even those who are not adult–make their own choices. Most are very determined to do this and some make choices that deeply sadden their parents. (Think about the shooting in Canada.)
The tricky part of this is that you, as a parent, do have a lot of responsibility. You are responsible for helping your kids learn to take care of themselves, as well as, helping them learn to be kind to others. You are responsible for providing for your kids and for giving them boundaries. As they grow, however, they develop both the capacity and responsibility to handle their own choices. One of the hardest things is to let children experience the consequences of their choices.
When they’re toddlers, we don’t let them run into the road. When they’re able to vote, however, we don’t have a right to tell them who to vote for.
It’s an ever-changing role, this parenting thing.