We’ve had discussions on raising resilient children, and in part, people bounce back from challenges by managing their expectations. I’m going to throw a proverbial “bomb” into this discussion: What if your child isn’t what you expected?
As expectant parents, we hope and dream (yes, idealize) what our child might be like. In our fantasy they will certainly possess all of our best attributes, and with any luck, our bad attributes will skip a generation. They will be intellectually and physically whole, above or well-above average, lucky in life and love, and finally, while navigating the ups and downs of developmental stages, generally be easy to be around.
Was I the ONLY parent to have these delusional thoughts pre-parenthood? Some admit it in a different way such as, “I was so judgmental of [insert scene] before I had kids.” “When I have kids I will NEVER [insert regularly practiced parenting strategy here]. Implicit in these statements is, “My child won’t behave in such a way to require yelling, bribing, consequences etc.”
Nonetheless, once your child is born, well, frankly, you are stuck with each other. And it is a good thing, because we hold those newborns in our arms and fall in love. And each day our expectations change as we learn about each other and learn to live and grow, together.
To me, this is the miracle of parenthood and family. We are forced, if you will, to embrace all the qualities of our children (as they are for us BTW) — their personalities, their abilities, their struggles, and their triumphs.
In fact, we as parents DO love unconditionally and therefore we adjust our unrealistic expectations of perfection in order to accept the individual wonderfulness of each and every child we are lucky enough to have.
I’ve been so fortunate to have survived parenting infants, young children, adolescents, college-age, and young twenty-something kids. As of today, my youngest is twenty-five! While he* would say, “I am not what I expected,” I would have to agree.
What I hope he knows is that he has exceeded my wildest dreams for who my little baby might become — even if he might not be entirely like the fantasy version I had in my head when I first held him in my arms. Mostly I am so proud of the good and kind person he is. I am also proud that even though he struggles, he perseveres. That he starting running intellectual circles around me years ago and is a wonderful poet in his own right, is just icing on the cake.
Happy Birthday my son, I look forward to watching your journey and learning from you for the next twenty-five years!
All my love, Mom.
Photos may not be reproduced without permission.
Latest posts by Candace Fitzpatrick (see all)
- Are We Really Struggling? - May 21, 2015
- A Mother’s Day Tribute – Just Ask the Questions You Have - May 7, 2015
- Any Ideas? - April 23, 2015