Feel Like Your Kids Are Growing up Too Fast? How to Slow Things Down
One of our gifts as moms is we want so much for our children. That inspires us to try harder and find ways to do more. We want them to have great manners, to be empathetic, to be resourceful and know how to work to get what they want, to know how to have fun, and the list goes on and on.
Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to this drive to raise our children to be the best. Often this drive makes us feel a lot of urgency and stress. Ironically enough, when we parent from that place, we are pushing our desires for our children away. The more pressure we feel to teach our children everything they need to know, and now, the more those very goals tend to become less attainable.
There are quite a few reasons for that fact. One is that no one likes to feel pushed, and our kids don’t like the pressure to constantly improve. As well, the pressure on us tends to result in us losing our temper, which knocks our children out of alignment with us and makes them not listen and model after us as readily. Furthermore, the more our kids get the message that they are not enough right now, the more they turn away from us overall.
So how do we slow things down so that we have more time to teach our children all that they need to know? We start with shifting our perspective to the long-term, and to the relationship with them. If we maintain a great relationship with our children where they are clear that they are loved unconditionally, then magical things happens.
First off, our children will naturally model and emulate those they are deeply aligned with. Some of the things we are trying to consciously teach our children, such as caring behavior, will be picked up by them watching and copying what we do.
Second, a massive gift is the more deeply bonded we are with our children and the more they turn to us for love and support, the longer our parenting window will be! A young adult who regularly confides in his parents will continue to be open to their influence and teaching long into adulthood. Whereas a child who feels clear that she constantly falls short of the mark and is disappointing her parents, will turn away from her parents because it is too painful to see that disapproval. She will not be near as open to her parents’ influence even during her childhood, let alone as an adult.
I have seen the truth of this with my kids. My son is 19 and in so many ways has adopted the values that I wanted him to have, despite me not directly teaching many of them. I call him my Renaissance man, and I am often floored by how self-directed, mature and caring he is. At times I still remind myself to not get excited by a behavior I don’t love, such as when he first went off to college and went to parties. He’s out of the house now, but I see that he is still maturing and growing, and being influenced, as he should be, by his parents. His sister is heading into her senior year of high school and is also doing very well. I used my son as the example though as he is out of the house.
That’s the gift I want you to have. Don’t shorten your parenting window by being anxious and stressed by how far your children are from who you want them to be when they leave your house. None of us are truly grown up at 18, so keep the pressure down on yourself. Remind yourself that not only will they learn more from you if they feel your unconditional love and support, but you’ll be expanding your parenting window at the same time! It’s a huge win for everyone when that happens!