“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” ― Anne Frank
Oh the day your darling baby son was born. The touch of his soft skin on yours is magnetic. You’re scared, excited, and overwhelmed with emotions you never knew possible. Your heart squeezes as happiness and sadness collide, you’re envisioning all the future has to hold – the good and the bad – and planning how you’ll tend to his every need while keeping him safe.
This experience, well, it’s so new to you. You’re fearful you may hurt him in some weird way that you don’t understand. So, you overcompensate and give him all of your attention and every ounce of love you can muster. You continue giving and giving (smothering) and he continues taking and taking.
Is it enough?
Over the years this outpouring of love becomes nearly impossible to sustain as he’s trying to break free in order to find himself. Your help isn’t needed so much anymore and that stings you deep down. But just because you’re not needed at every turn it doesn’t mean your job is done, actually far from it.
As your caretaking duties begin to dwindle your role begins to shift into that of a cheerleader, your son’s biggest fan. You begin to encourage and mold him, planting seeds into his mind for who he should become.
As a mother (or a father) it’s your job to remind him of his soft heart and give him permission to feel. It’s okay to enjoy the journey; forget about the destination. Too many times my client’s are racing towards the finish line and miss the most important development—self-love.
Please – don’t allow him to reach too high or push himself too hard. There will come a time, one day, that he’ll be on the precipice of crashing as he’s try to understand why he’s been trying so hard and, for what?
To impress you, dad, or…whom?
Maybe you don’t feel like you’ve pressured through your words but your energy, and lack of effort to sit back and enjoy him for him, transcended through the air and latched onto his soul.
This boy is like so many other boys and men. This was the little boy turned young man who appeared happy, but deep down struggled with self-worth. He couldn’t quite find a place in this world; he was just a roaming misfit with too much to lose.
He wanted to make you happy because your facial expressions typically look quite the opposite. He’s been watching your actions out of the corner of his eye for quite some time and he’s heard every word as he plays with his Legos and blocks.
But, what he needs more than your well-meaning encouragements is for you to let go. He has a life to live.