Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Hidden Pressure We Put On Our Kids

Perfection.  Without meaning to, sometimes I think I can expect perfection out of my kids – especially as a Christian parent. 

Recently I was talking with a friend and she was sharing with me about some choices/decisions she was thinking about in her life.  She shared with me that she felt like her mom wanted her to fail because then she could point out to her that she shouldn’t have made the choices she did. She shouldn’t have headed the direction she headed in.  And that made me so sad!  That a child would feel that their parent wanted them to fail!

I realize that I have high standards for my kids. I have high standards for myself too. But I think sometimes I have put this subliminal pressure on them, (without meaning to) that they have to be perfect. That they are not allowed to make mistakes. That they can’t mess up. For if they do, they will get a huge lecture about why they shouldn’t have done that, or how it was the wrong thing to do. And that gives me huge concern!

I want my children to be able to be free to make their own mistakes. Of course as their mom, it is hard to stand by and watch, but I need to realize that mistakes are part of life. They are a part of learning.  If my children don’t make mistakes and aren’t free to test themselves out a little bit in the safety of our home environment, at some point, they will push against those boundaries they felt on their lives – whether it be in college, a marriage relationship or later on in life.

I may have put a hidden pressure on my kids that I never intended on placing on their shoulders. 

I want to be close to my kids. I want them to be able to share with me when they mess up and know that they have a loving, listening ear and shoulder. I want them to understand that no one is perfect and they certainly don’t have to be either! Yet I want them to strive to be better and stronger despite their mess-ups and flaws. I want them to propel themselves to live a life of integrity, meaning, morality, and character.

I am so thankful that the Lord spoke to my heart about these expectations my children might feel at times. I think my children are pretty spectacular and I’d hate to think that they ever felt like they were awful, or failures simply because they did something they regretted.  Instead, I want them to realize that those are the very moments where our lifelong choices are made about who we want to be.  It’s only through the tough stuff that we often get there!

Thank heavens that God doesn’t expect ME to be perfect. Thank goodness He molds and shapes me as I constantly deviate, take wrong turns, huge steps backwards, and make wrong decisions, at times. I am so blessed that HE simply and lovingly listens, loves, and guides me back in the right direction instead of condemning me.  And that’s what I long to do for my own children.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone messes up. It’s what we do with those times and lessons that matters the most. I hope I can help my children learn this lesson along the way.

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