Your Children Are Not You

Written by on August 1, 2012 in Family - No comments | Print this page

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It can often be hard as parents to resist projecting ourselves onto our children. We look at them and we literally see ourselves in their faces. But no matter how much they may look like us, walk like us or talk like us, they are not us.

My daughter looks like “mini-me” and although my parents keep commenting on how she reminds them so much of me when she was little (mostly when she’s throwing tantrums), she is undoubtedly her own little person and has many traits that I did not.

As our children grow they ultimately have different experiences, meet different people, see and hear different things. It is inevitable that they will turn out to be individuals, not carbon copies of us.

When we have children a certain amount of our ego gets wrapped up seeing our selves in them. We hear ourselves saying things like, “Oh they get that from me,” or “Oh those are my eyes” but the truth is, they’re not your eyes, they’re theirs. Our children will look out through their eyes and think their own thoughts, have their own feelings, hopes and dreams. We cannot and should not expect them to love the same things we love or want the same things we want.

Perhaps you always dreamed of having a son so he could share your love of baseball, only he decides he wants to dance instead…it’s because he’s not you. Maybe when your baby girl was born you imagined having fairy princess parties and barbie sleepovers and yet you find her practicing karate…she’s not you.

When our children are born we almost have to completely let go of our expectations of what they will look like, act like or want to be like. We honestly have to tell ourselves over and over again, “they’re not me, they’re not me, they’re not me.” Isn’t it completely unfair and horribly selfish of us to think that they should be anything like us?

Consider that the only reason that you are “you” at all is because somebody allowed you to be and supported your differences from everybody else. And if they didn’t? If perhaps your parents tried to make you a clone of themselves then this is the time to right that and let your children be who they are meant to be. After all, the world would never advance if the human race was stuck on repeat.

Here is part of a poem by Khalil Gibran that I believe beautifuly sums up my point.

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”On Children – Kahlil Gibran

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About the Author

Jenessa Blanchet

I am a working mother of two, with a passion for writing and lending a literary helping hand to fellow parents and family enthusiasts. Born and raised on the west coast, I have a love of the outdoors; sailing, beaching and all things wonderful including constantly trying to keep a handle on family life. View all posts on Family Life.