Are we listening to their voices or leading them to become who we want them to be? How is that truly free?
There is no blueprint or handbook on parenting, and if asked, I would say it's the riskiest job in existence on earth. Not only are you raising one life, but you are also raising one life that will impact millions, if not more, however long that lifespan is. More so now than ever before, children are in need of being heard. If you haven't listened before, Now would be the best time to start.
From the day they open their eyes in this realm, they are dictated on how their lives should be. Parents are forced to come up with a name for "paperwork" and federal "record keeping," but more often than not, there is no time allowed for the child to develop an identity before being "told" who they are. At the time of elementary school, you have a child who is now out in the everyday world, impressionable, looking for an identity, a place to fit in. This day and time, all the things that make childhood enjoyable have been removed. Look at the Holidays where you have children missing out on festivities because adults argue about if a man who spreads joy exists. A character created to sell a story behind a money-driven holiday, that's the truth behind it all so, So what if he doesn't exist?
There will come a place and time where children will become these adults. In the Easter bunny, many children aren't allowed to go outside and run around with other children while fetching beautifully colored eggs because adults argue over if an easter bunny can lay eggs or catch one, you might notice Christianity. It has nothing to do with any of that, merely a great time for children to be children and create memories. Ask your child if they want to participate next time, and see what they say? Without any definitions behind any seasons or celebrations, children will want to be a part of anything that makes you smile or makes you laugh, anything that makes you want to wake to see another day. But when they are silenced, we take that away.
We are paving the way for another generation of leaders, and if anything, the focus should be on the leader. "Live by example" isn't just a cliche; it should be a way of life. They will be an example one day. Why not watch them live it, with The proper guidance, of course. When you listen and observe, you may learn that the reason your daughter is skipping college is that she never wanted to attend in the first place, and perhaps telling you her truths would cause you to hate her.
When parents live vicariously through their children, this is the result, they grow into adults and distance themselves, or they grow into adults and secretly resent their parents. My perspective wouldn't be the first time mentioned either; it's the unfortunate truths of holding a soul hostage, even if that soul traveled here via your birth canal. It is not your life to live. Children have been given the same life in this flesh as us all, and to suppress or silence them will only bring about more harm than good.
The suicide rate amongst children ages 10-24 has increased by 54% from 2007-2018. Imagine what those numbers will look like when they factor in the increasing numbers from 2018-2021. They are still rising. There has to be some outlet for our babies; there should be no reason they are so quick to end a life that has yet to begin truly. To make it personal would be to take weight away from the issue. For many generations, it has been said to "do as I say, not as I do,"; but to take care of you is to take care of them. It will allow you the strength to listen.
They lied when they said, "children are to be seen, not to be heard"...How can that be when children are just as much our teachers?
Ever wonder why it seems as if your child has everything they could ask for, but they still act out or keep distant and shelter up their emotions when it comes to talking to you as a parent? More often than not, parents forget how it was the child and end up becoming the parent they were afraid to talk to, as parents extend the invitation and provide a safe place—a secure area without judgments or rendering solutions, a place of solace and ears.
When your child is out of your presence, you deal with whatever parental emotions you may be experiencing. Share them with your spouse, friend, and/or ancestors, but you must not react during the time you should be listening. This is a way to build trust. Can they trust you enough to hear THEIR truths without you making it about you, because remember, it's not?
Even when we think we are the best we can be, ask your children, let them be present in the lives you are leading. There is no blueprint on how to parent, and what works for one family may not work for another. Listen to your child. They are here to help you guide them.