Do you ever find yourself overcompensating in your parenting choices and style, trying to make up for something you didn’t get as a child?
The triggers that come up in parenting (and in your marriage, and at work, and with your friends) are usually trying to get your attention and turn your awareness inward to help you heal old wounds.
When Penelope was about 18 months old, I learned a piece of wisdom that saved me from stressing about being able to give her the perfect childhood I never got.
I learned that your kids don’t need things you needed, so there is no reason to overcompensate with them over things you didn’t get as a kid. If you never got any Christmas presents or didn’t grow up with a lot of toys, showering your kids with presents and toys is not going to heal your wounds. Showering your kid with I love yous and I’m so proud of yous is not going to heal the pain from never having heard those words from your parents.
What your kid needs from you is unique to them. Their DNA and personality and the environment in which they are growing up in dictate how they need you to parent them. And this is different for each child! The way you parent one child, may be very different from the needs of your other children. Paying close attention to your child, being aware and conscious of how you express your love to them, and guiding them based on their personality is HUGE. Check out this post to learn more about figuring out your child’s personality to best parent them.
Overcompensating with your kid in the areas you lacked as child won’t helping anything. They don’t want a bunch a toys that you buy because your parents could never afford to buy you want you wanted. They don’t want a bunch of praise because no one ever told you there were proud of you. They don’t need extra protection because no one ever protected you. They don’t need what you didn’t get. The only thing your kids want is for you to be happy and healthy.
Now, when I start to feel guilty about not doing the things that I have a belief system about what I think “good” mothers do, I think about this: Penelope doesn’t care if I am perfect. She cares whether or not I am fulfilling my dreams and being real. She cares if I am happy and healthy. She wants me to be present with her, and that I allow her the space so she can be herself without me projecting my wounds and wishes upon her.
If you are held back in life by your past your fears, your past pain, then you are not living your best life, owning your power and chasing your dreams. If you’re not doing that, your kids can’t either. If you never accomplish those goals, it doesn’t mean your kids won’t be able to do it for themselves one day, but it will make it much harder for them to move past their fears, their pain because you didn’t show them the way and pave the road for them. Every ounce of healing you do for yourself, you do for your kids.
The work you do on yourself, the healing you work towards for yourself, directly relates to how happy, healthy and content you are. The only thing your kids truly needs is for you to happy and healthy and living your life to the fullest.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t let your kids see your real emotions and that you have to fake and pretend to be happy, I just mean your only real job as a parent is to work on yourself and make strides towards being truly happy through healing and personal growth.
So anytime you feel like you are letting your kids down, or are not able to give them something you needed as a kid but didn’t get, do these things: Be present with your child and know they are not you. Allow them the space to be themselves and discover what their needs are, what their personality is, and what you do to make them feel the most loved by you. Just because you love them, doesn’t mean the FEEL loved.
And remember, all they want is for you to be happy and healthy. That’s all it takes to be a good parent, too.