The Paradox of a Parent-Child Relationship – Who’s Responsibility is it to Change?

By Manya Monga.

As parents, we often expect our kids to be a certain way or behave in a certain way and no matter how hard we try, we often expect them to change into something we want them to become.

We forget that they are unique beings and special in their own way. Most of the time, parents’ expectations of their children are a reflection of their own fear and guilt.

Some examples of unrealistic expectations that parents have for their kids are:

  1. To be perfect at school and at home
  2. To never make mistakes
  3. To take part in competitions even if they don’t want to
  4. To do everything we ask them to do without asking questions
  5. To achieve targets set by others
  6. To do better than others

Why should we ask parents to focus on the above, when, instead we can teach them ways to be:

  • Kind
  • Grateful
  • Cheerful
  • Respectful

And value what we already have such as:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Relationships
  • Truth
  • Honesty

We can also teach them to find happiness and celebrate the little things in life and appreciate what we have rather than focusing on unreasonable expectations.

We may think we are doing this for our child’s higher good or a brighter future but what we fail to understand is that it’s not our job to push them into things we want for them. It is our sole responsibility as parents to show them various options and guide them through, in case they need our help. We need to encourage them to take decisions for themselves. They may fail or fall down but we must support them to get back up and learn and move ahead.

Tips to Raise a Resilient Child with Strong Coping Skills

  1. Support your child
  2. Educate them that change is normal
  3. Model for them to observe and learn from you
  4. Teach them to be optimistic and grateful
  5. Encourage them to take ownership of their decisions

Putting pressure on kids may result in low self-esteem and low self-confidence as they will constantly feel they haven’t achieved enough. And in this process of trying to achieve more and more, kids lose their individuality, and personalities change due to our actions and behaviors.

Tips to Raise a Confident Child with High Self-Esteem

We can build confidence in our children by telling them:

  1. You are unique
  2. You are imperfectly perfect
  3. Keep going and keep trying
  4. Accept and celebrate the way you are

Hence, it can be rightly said that in the parent-child relationship, the major responsibility to change is with the parent.

Kids are like clay and can be molded in any way we want. Keeping in mind that they are unique individuals and showing them love, the more we appreciate how wonderful and unique they are in their own special way, and the more they will bloom and become the best versions of themselves.

And that is the best gift we can give to our children.