There seems to be so many different issues facing our kids these days. I was thinking about this and asked myself, “are there really though?”
Kids believe that adults can’t possibly understand what they are going through because they cannot fathom that adults were young, or they believe they are so unique that no one can understand what THEY are going through. There has been no evolutionary leap from me to my children. Unless they are gifted enough to be invited by Professor Xavier to join his X-Men, then they are the same as us.
The thing is, we, as adults, act the same, like we can’t possible understand what they are going through. The things we dealt with looked different, but the issues remain the same. For some reason though, we always seem surprised at what our kids are going through. Has it been so long that we cannot remember? Have we disassociated ourselves from who we were as children?
Ego wrecks havoc in this situation and if we are to overcome this, the parent must step up and engage the kid. As a parent, we have to let go of the glory days. Our kids are not our second chance. They are their own first chance. Our job is to use our experience, which is 100% applicable, to benefit them. How do we do this?
We have to talk to them. Engaging our kids is difficult because it means being honest with the one person (or how ever many kids you have) who still thinks we are almost all good. It isn’t the topics that are difficult. Every single one of us address topics like racism and sexuality every single day. It’s only hard when we have to do it with our kids because the disillusionment of our kids is terrifying.
I actually remember the first time I messed up really bad and my kid thought, “maybe he isn’t Super-Dad, like I thought.” I could see it in her face and in her eyes. It actually made me cry. It is one of the moments I will never forget in all my life.
I think this is one of those situations where our fear lies to us. We think that we must maintain the illusion of being perfect to our kids, but the reality is that engaging them in a genuine way will build respect. Respect is much more durable than illusions. My daughter and I’s relationship matured a bit when sucked it up and apologized to her. She was honest and direct with me. That communication, that conversation was not easy for me. It was very beneficial for both of us though. Since then we have been able to communicate directly without risking the love between us. Having these conversations regularly helps cultivate kids who don’t need to fear difficulties.
Lastly (but really firstly), we need to build up our kids to ensure they have a proper sense of self. We need to establish the innate value created within them. We need them to stand on a solid foundation of love. If we meet together on that firm foundation, having conversations about difficult topics will be more fruitful (though not necessarily easier). If the foundation of love is there, then we do not need to fear their judgment of our past. Our past, our life lessons are what we pass on to them in hopes that their future will be better.