Choosing Your Children

That old saying “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”; most of us will see that and think of our extended relatives we don’t get along with, or our parents we don’t get along with, or whatever. Most of us will NOT look at that saying and relate it to our children.

Friends are people who “get” us, just as we are. We get along with them, we have similar interests or quirks, we enjoy spending time with them. They love us and we love them back; not because we have to but because we want to, we choose to, no strings attached. And sometimes, friendships can come to an end too. People do sometimes grow apart and have different priorities.

Family is a completely other story though, isn’t it? You are “born” into it, you are “married” into it and you “give birth” to it. These people are in your life and you cannot escape the fact that you are related, and you may not like them, or you may truly love them but if they were random people, would they be your friends? Would you choose them to be your friends?

And so it is with our offspring. We do not get to choose their personality traits in advance to make sure we all get along. We get what we are given and we have to make the best of it. (and some days this can be really hard and you may or may not, find yourself sitting in a car park lot crying and asking, why god, WHYYYYYY?)

It is important to recognise that our children are in fact, NOT little extensions of ourselves but independent people in their own right. And we have to make an effort here. A really BIG one.

For example. Madison and I (I’m using her as an example because we are both female). People look at us and call her my “mini-me”. And yes we look very much alike but we aren’t.

Choosing Your Children Blog

Madison is very athletic and adventurous. I always sucked at sports and was too scared to try new stuff.
Madison is very social and has many friends and is popular at school. I only ever had either a group of close friends or everyone hated me, and I was never ever popular.
Madison is messy, I am an OCD freak.
Madison is intelligent but school work is not high on her priorities list. If I didn’t get an A at something, I cried.
We do both, however, carry the clumsy gene. It’s been passed down through many generations. There are numerous funny stories. Not going there right now.
Would my younger self and Madison be friends? I doubt it.
So anyway, back to my point. As Madison’s parent, my only point of reference is myself when I was around that age. And after many months of banging my head against the wall because I totally suck at this parenting thing and why don’t my kids respect me when I had the upmost respect for my elders etc etc etc; I FINALLY realised that my point of reference is all wrong!!!
I cannot compare her to myself at that age or ever, because she is NOTHING like myself at that age or ever! She is her very own individual person. Because something is important to me does NOT mean that it will automatically be important to her. Things that motivate me may not be the same things which motivate her. I had this parenting thing all wrong!
So, what now?
Well, as I always say, awareness is the key. Once you are aware of something, you cannot make it go away or unthink it. It doesn’t go away until you address it. So that’s really cool, I’m glad I have had this a-ha! moment.
What do I really do now? How do I change things? How do I parent in a different way I have never tried before?
Look, I have no idea. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated and welcome. Thanks xx

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Andy McLennan

Lovely warm blog, and I am a male (albeit a father of three darling children). Thanks for reminding me why we have children and all the differences that exist and how those differences compliment for all of us.

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rodneybukuya

The hardest thing I’ve found is dealing with them when they’re exactly like me in so many areas and yet I can’t get a handle on what they’re thinking.

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    Ana Hall

    We live and we learn. There is a lesson in everything. One thing I do know for sure, is that this parenting gig is one of the toughest out there. Just remember, you are the best dad your kids could ever have, that’s why they chose you. X

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Sue McGee

Isn’t coming to this understanding the change in itself. It will most probably influence and colour your interactions with your children now (it certainly will mine). You might not change drastically but the knowledge will always be in the background now and perhaps measure your initial response. Loved reading this by the way xx

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    Ana Hall

    Thanks Sue! One step at a time but in the right direction, huh? It will be an interesting time ahead, that’s for sure xx

    Reply
trevallan

My god. I love you. You are in my head, saying all the things I dare not think.

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