One of the hardest lessons I have learned as a parent thus far is this; my kid is not me. We always say we want them to be their own person. We want them to explore life and discover what really makes them tick. Somewhere deep inside though, (at least for me) lies this little morsel of expectation that (s)he is going to be just like me. She will like the same kinds of people, listen to the same kinds of music. Her emotions and reactions to circumstances will mimic the way mine were at her age. For me, this stemmed from a need to understand my daughter. If I knew exactly what she was thinking or feeling, I could be her hero. I could tell her, “I know just how you feel…”.
As Ashley my (16 year old fireball) entered her teen years, it became apparent that I had no idea what she was thinking. Or why she was thinking it. Or how she really felt about it. I certainly had an idea based on my own experiences, but all I could really do in most situations was empathize.
When it hit home that my daughter was nothing like me, it was two things. First of all, it was scary. How can I be any help to her if I can’t tell her I know what she is going through? Secondly, and ironically, there was a sense of relief. I could relax to some extent. Let her work through things her own way instead of telling her how I think she should handle a particular situation.
Ashley and I compliment each other. Being so different allows for really interesting, philosophical conversation. Sometimes her perspective makes more sense to me than my own and vise versa.
I am learning as a mom that my primary focus is just to love her. And that’s easy. Understanding her all the time? No so much. And I now know that that’s Okay!
Have you made this realization with one or more of your kids? What impact did it have on you? Were you surprised? Tell me your thoughts in the comment box!