Last night a friend called me upset. While I listened to her I thought – I know she’s not the only one who feels this way. So here I am, sharing a something I hear parents say about how the year 2020 has impacted children:
“I just want my kids to have a NORMAL school experience….”
“this is not NORMAL….”
Let’s talk about parenting for a minute. As parents it’s our job to guide our children the best way we know how. Many times, when doing this we rely on our own experiences and beliefs. These are things that make US feel secure as individuals, and it overflows into how we parent. WE feel safe when we can relate to what our children are going through because we can assume we know the outcome. What we consider NORMAL is only normal because it was OUR EXPERIENCE.
Our children are living through a time that we as parents CANNOT relate to. We don’t know what it’s like to have virtual school & experience childhood through a pandemic – we just don’ t know. But here is what I want to share – we don’t HAVE to know. It’s okay.
In those moments where we cannot CONTROL the experiences our children are living, it can be confusing, cause panic and then anxiety. I believe this happens for a few reasons. You may not like what I have to say about this, but please, keep an open mind. I’m going to number these out so that we can be clear about what we are talking about.
- When we see our children experience life as we did – we feel VALIDATED.
- When we understand what our children are going through, we feel relevant.
- This validation and feeling of relevance lead to our own sense of security – we accept and believe that our way is the right way, secure in the idea that we That OUR way is the ONLY way.
I believe these thought processes happen SUBCONSIOUSLY.
Who decided what is NORMAL? WE DID. Parents everywhere are having anxiety about kids not being able to socialize because they are missing in person school for a few months – “Oh no…what about homecoming or prom?” These are experiences that we had that we learned from, but we have to be willing to let our children learn about life through different experiences than we did. And this is hard.
It really makes me think of my parents, and how they raised us in a country that they had no ties to (at the time,) they were just figuring it out as they were going. Maybe, because I’m a child of immigrants, I have this view. I witnessed my parents adapt and evolve. We had to talk out things we were experiencing and what we were learning from them. My parents had no “anchor” in the countries they lived in, so they had to just go with it and make sure we were learning life the way they believed was best through experiences they usually knew very little about.
Right now, we can’t rely on the school & social experiences to teach our children lessons that we learned in those environments. THAT IS OKAY. We have to step up and talk to them, prepare them and open up to them about our experiences. Yes, you read that correctly – you are going to have to talk to your children about things that happened in your life, how you felt, and how you handled it. – even if you did not handle things the best way. Let them see you as a person.
It’s natural to be cautious when your child is going through something you don’t understand. But did deep into yourself to figure out WHY you feel this way. I want to reiterate that a lot of this happens because we don’t know what to expect, and the control freak in us comes out.
As parents, we need to evolve, recognize that the way we were raised was not 100% correct. Honestly, I could write an entire new post on things we just accepted growing up that are not correct.
The circle of life that our society was riding on is broken, and it’s up to us to rebuild it. Let’s only use the good parts when rebuilding what is going to be now called “normal,” and let’s maybe accept that the way we live life and the experiences we have don’t need to necessarily make a circle. I do believe the lessons we learn in life complete a circle, but maybe the experiences and what is normal should be more of a trapezoid….i know my life has been like a trapezoid with a layer of a nonagon, scalene triangle and possibly a rhombus in the making. And I’m not even 40 yet.
Always feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments!