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Yes, you may have davened, expected, and hoped that your child turnout differently than he did. LET IT GO.

Hot Button # 3. Parents’ Expectations.  part 4 of 5

To the parent of adult children:  Yes, you may have davened, expected, and hoped that your child turnout differently than he did. LET IT GO.

All you’re doing is communicating to the child that: you haven’t measured up, you’re not good enough, and we don’t approve, much less accept you. And now, you want to have a happy and healthy relationship? Forget about it.  If your child doesn’t feel that he’s living up to your expectations, he will feel as a result, like a disappointment.

That is clearly going to generate hostility, anger, and frustration on all sides. To whatever degree you can, you need to accept  that your child is whoever he is, and that you’re going make a decision right now, to love and accept your childunconditionally from this moment on.  He may not be leading the life that you want for him, and you may not approve of all the that he does, but that’s OK.  Love him anyway

Paradoxically, this is the most effective path to help your child to live up to his potential.  An essential ingredient of helping to foster the emotional growth of our children (adult or otherwise) is unconditional love  and acceptance. That means, “I unconditionally love and  respect you for who you are. Even if you never change, it’s fine.” Any relationship based on the need for one person to change will never succeed.      The self-love becomes poisoned, and the unconditional love diluted. It requires tremendous focus, dedication, and patience to continually love and accept someone in the face of difficult behavior–but it is what is needed. As Albert Schweitzer said, “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”

To the adult child and child-in law, your job is simple. Recognize that your parent only desires one thing: your happiness. It may show itself in strange, even contradictory ways, and their approach may be lacking, but their hearts are in the right place.

Copyright © 2011 by Dovid Lieberman

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