One of the things I have come to recognize is that fear often drives my parenting. When I say fear I don’t mean fear of what others think or that my kids will be respectful in public. I fear that my insecurities and struggles will be the struggles and insecurities they have. I fear that the pain I still struggle with in life will be the same things that they face. I fear the mirror that my kids will be the reflection of my struggles and weaknesses. I love them so much and I want to help them overcome the things I never overcame.
The danger of fearing the mirror in parenting.
When we fear the mirror it causes us to parent to who we were as kids not who our kids are. Sure our kids will reflect us in some ways but overall their experience will be so much different than yours. They have different parents, siblings, friends and have grown up in a different age. All this will cause their experience to be different than theirs. If however you parent to the mirror you will overcompensate and cause issues in your kids life. It will suck the joy out of the time you have with your kids because you will be living in fear. Every time you see a trait that is similar to you it will cause a little panic and in the end you will shift your parenting.
How to shatter the fear of the mirror in parenting.
1. Your kids are not you. Remember what I said earlier. Although your kids may reflect you in some ways they are not you and have a million different experiences that have shaped who they are. Their struggles and fears although may be similar to yours will be different and they can not be addressed like yours were.
2. Ask your spouse to help you. Be honest with your spouse about your fears and ask them to help you when they see you parenting to your fears. They will see it and help you find balance again. The truth is you will not notice it most of the time but over the years it will have a real impact on your kids. It may come out in you being too competitive in their sports or you spoiling them because you fear they won’t like you.
3. Realize life is tough and your kids will have some fears and struggles. We hear a lot about helicopter parenting today and it’s ill effects. Kids tend to be more depressed when parents are overprotective and over involved. Your kids are going to go through hard times like every other kid and the best thing you can do is allow them to go through them while they are in the safety of your home. It may be better that they struggle with some of the things that you did because then you are well equipped to help them work through the issue.
4. Pray a lot! The Lord can give you wisdom and insight into your parenting you simply need to trust him. You need to call out to him and ask for help. Trust Him and trust His Words to you and you will find strength and wisdom.
5. Have lot of fun with your family! This cannot be overrated. If you regularly have fun with your kids and love on them it is going to overcome so many of the struggles they have in their life. They will feel secure and loved from you. The one they really need to feel it from and it will give them the strength and confidence to get through the struggles of life.
I can not imagine I am the only one who fears my past and that my kids will become me. That they will struggle like I did and hurt like I do. If you feel this at times too know you are not alone. Enlist a friend or spouse to hold you accountable and to pray with you as you work through the issues of your past. The worst thing you can do is to parent your children based on who you were and what you experienced as a kid!
They aren’t you and they will have their own life and struggles! Don’t allow the fear of the mirror to control your parenting!