Stop expecting your child to be more incredible than you are yourself!
Raising a resilient child often feels like a challenge for parents. Here’s three ideas to help you think about how to make sure your child can cope with the toughest challenges of life.
Don’t get involved in their pity parties! You know, life really can be tough sometimes – it can be unjust, and it can be unfair. People get rejected, and sometimes things happen that we don’t like. As a parent you don’t always have to fix life for your child or ensure it is fair. Learning how to deal with challenge and what to do when life is unfair is an important part of life. Teaching your child how to deal with these things is an important part of building parenting skills. How do you deal with it yourself? What skills do you have to cope when you feel hard done by?
It’s important to love your child, but to keep some perspective. Adoring your child is part and parcel of parenting. But allowing your child to think that they are the centre of the universe is unfair to them. The world believes they are equal to others – that they should occasionally go first, and occasionally go last. Being exceptional all the time is not good for healthy development – failing and learning how to do it gracefully is part of growth.
It’s unfair to prioritise your child over yourself, to make your entire life revolve around them. It is poor modelling for them for when they become parents themselves. Plus, if you do that, what’s to stop your child getting locked into thinking that everyone else’s life should revolve around them too – becoming entitled, or becoming self-absorbed, self-centred, narcissistic? Such beliefs are likely to cause social issues for them in school.
Instead, take some time to focus on what they have to offer to others, and their part in the world. How can they make the world better? Teach them about random acts of kindness and delight in their actions rather than their achievements. Let them learn what is likely to lead to a happy or contented life. Definitely delight in them, and delight with them, but try focusing on values rather than achievements.
Stop expecting your child to be more incredible than you are yourself! Yeah, that’s right. Do you expect your child to be perfect, all the time? And are you perfect? Do you have some unrealistic expectations for your children? It’s quite normal to fail a lot of the time, and yet sometimes parents have these unrealistic expectations that their child will not do so, that can cause a great deal of anxiety and stress. For example, that their child will sit down night after night for years and always be motivated to do their homework well. Or that they will always wake up in a good mood, always feel like eating the meal you cooked, always manage their temper, always remember to pack away… Just like us, children cannot be perfect. And that’s okay.
– Dr Amanda Mullin, Founder & Doctor of Clinical Psychology