You have already ‘accepted’ them into your life, by having them. When you accepted that tiny bundle of joy into your life, you were also accepting all that he or she would bring with it, you just couldn’t know than what that would be! I don’t mean accept anything they do as alright, there has to be boundaries and consequences if they are broken. You can still accept them even when you do not accept their behaviour. It is really important to let them know that it is their behaviour that you do not like or approve of and not them, there is a big difference. When talking to a child, be aware of what you say to them and how you say it, what is said to a child has a massive impact and can stay with them the rest of their life. Keep their behaviour separate from who they are. When they have done something you think is silly, or even stupid, be clear and say “That was silly” not “You are silly”. There’s a big difference in telling a child, when talking about a specific incident “that was mean” and “you are mean”. When a child hears something negative over and over again, insecurities and limiting beliefs are formed. Labels stick!
Think about a newborn baby, a baby a few weeks old or even a few months old lying in their cot all snuggly and cosy, beautiful skin rosy cheeks, gorgeous ….. What do you expect of them? We don’t expect anything of them, really. We don’t look at them and think they are a burden, not living up to expectations or criticise them for not doing very much, criticise them for not having much hair yet, or no teeth yet, or think they should lose a few inches around the middle. We accept them just as they are. We don’t expect of them yet, we accept them, we are accepting of what they are exactly as they are. This changes as children get older. We expect more and accept less. Of course, when we are helping our children grow and learn we teach things that we want them to learn and understand and we also put a lot of expectancy on them and become less and less accepting of them for themselves, we sometimes lose sight that they are children, and expect them to be more grown up!
This happens throughout their lives, our lives, we put so much pressure on them, on ourselves to be a certain way, the way ‘society’ says we should be, instead having a more accepting approach and less critical and damaging expectations. We succumb to fitting into society, adopting a way of being, looking, behaving that is dictated to by others and so often leads to pushing ourselves, our children into moulds that don’t fit, in school, in jobs in relationships and in life.
We would be happier accepting the differences, finding a way of encouraging our children’s unique gifts, talents and finding a way to let our children be who they are and become who they are really meant to be. When we can encourage them to follow their own interests and passions they will be happier children, As parents we often push what we want for them, what we think is best and that is coming from the way we see the world and from past experience. Remember our children are growing up in the world of tomorrow that will be so different from the world of the past. Examine the world the way it is, our lives, the way we live, possibly bound by rules, regulations, having to work hard, have a job we don’t necessarily like! have a mortgage round our neck …. is it what we really want for our children? It’s their journey, their future, help them live it their way, instead of trying to fit them into a system that is out-dated and not really working! Khalil Gibran in The Phropet says …
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.