WHEN WE THINK OUR CHILDREN HAVE GONE WRONG

There are patterns in every generation. In each generation there are several things that will change: economic stability/instability, social perspectives, family/spouse roles, and political perspectives. 

All of these factors program our brain to view ourselves living in a certain type of environment. These factors influence our perspective on what is right or wrong. Morally they influence our view between what is the right and wrong way to be living.

Socially we once lived only close to our nuclear family, we financially supported ourselves by living off the land, spousal and children’s roles were well defined, and civil and political debates were not known.

I was oblivious to what was going on in my parents’ generation. My home life was one with a stay-at-home mom, a healthy economic situation, spouses and children’s roles were typical of the times and there was contention and debate over civil unrest. 

When I graduated from high school, I went to college, got a job, got married, had five children and was a stay-at-home mom. The unemployment rate was not discussed as it was not a major issue, social perspectives were beginning to change; women were going to college and getting higher degrees which brought up more social and political perspectives. It was a time when the US Supreme court gave the right to women to have an abortion.

As my children became adults there was a major change in the economic, social, and political perspectives in our world. The roles of adults changed as children moved out of their nuclear family regarding what their role was in society. A major change was that it was no longer easy to get a job after going to college or some other higher learning which often required both spouses to earn income to support the family. With more women getting higher education they were seeing more opportunities to do something else in addition to staying home especially when the children were all in school. 

This idea of having the right to spend our time or live our lives started when we came to earth being given the gift of agency. 

With each generation there comes a perspective of how that agency should be used. Our opinion becomes an expectation that often clashes with our children’s choices that causes us to think that something has gone wrong. Not only do we think something has gone wrong, but also, we think something is wrong with them. The result is the parent feels disappointed and frustrated and unable to create within themselves the type of parent they want to be.

I work with women all the time that are suffering because of the choices their adult children are making. They are sad, disappointed, resentful, angry, and fearful.

One client told me her daughter was living with her boyfriend, does nothing all day but watch Netflix, and rarely showers. 

Her daughter is perhaps making a wrong choice and maybe she will suffer some consequences. But it is sometimes those wrong choices that teach her what she needs to learn that she could learn no other way. Making a wrong choice does not mean anything is wrong with her or anything has gone wrong. She still has the same value that she had the day she was born. She is merely exercising her agency.  

When mom has thoughts that her daughter’s behavior is wrong, her daughter is wasting her life, and that her daughter should be looking for a job, mom feels a lot of negative emotions. Mom feeling horrible doesn’t change how her daughter acts, and feeling horrible doesn’t give mom the power to know how to be the loving mother she really wants to be. 

To be able to love someone that is difficult to love has greater influence in helping someone change than anything else we can do.

When you love someone enough to love them regardless of their actions, you have come to a place of acceptance. Acceptance feel more peaceful than resistance. Accepting someone for just being themselves is the closest we'll get to loving like the Savior loves.

How do we get to that level of love and acceptance?  We do it by changing out thoughts. It takes work. It takes “trying on” new thoughts and be willing to practice thinking those thoughts enough times that they become beliefs. 

Some new thoughts might be…

“Things never stay the same”

“They are figuring things out for themselves”

“They are doing the best they can”

“I can love my child without loving their behavior”

“Adult children make mistakes”

“They are exercising their agency”

“They are making different mistakes than I make”

“It’s not my responsibility to fix them”

When you get to acceptance, it gives you the freedom to just love your children….and nothing feels more wonderful than the feeling of love.  Love also gives you the power to be able to feel the negative feelings that come with being a parent of children.  As adults we are responsible for our feelings.

Life is 50/50.  True happiness comes from living in the middle.  Feeling the love and feeling the despair.  The best news ever is that we have control over it all.  “It’s all good”; my mantra for getting through my journey of life.

I can help you get through your journey.  We can be heartbroken, but we can’t be the mom we want to be if were broken.  Book a call and let me help you.

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