Your child is not your appendix

Another blog post from the series “what your child would like you to know”.

I am aware that I’m just exploring something hypothetical and in real life this might not be happening… yet… for several reasons, most important of them being the low-level emotional and spiritual education of the average person.

And I am also aware that I might not be adapting the form of communicating my message to the capacity of the recipient… because such hypothetical recipient either doesn’t read my blog or doesn’t understand English. So I’m writing it mostly for myself, for the future, to make sure I will not forget it when I will have to attend to my own child. Because I have the feeling that, as long as I don’t have a child yet, nobody is taking my suggestions seriously.

Long story short… I feel the need to stress something that comes from deep down inside of me, because I’m seeing so often, on groups about parenting, cases of parents that want to control their child at any cost and expect they have the right to do so.

But your children have their own identity and their own destiny, that you don’t know, by default. Ok, they are materially dependent on you until certain age, they live in the same household with you and “have to obey your rules”, but you both need to be able to connect and understand yourselves as equal spirits, not as master and slave.

Just something I remembered right now. Sometimes, in my teenage years, when we were all eating together at the table, my dad would say something regarding me that was instantly making me lose appetite and leave the table. Apparently there was something about me that he could not stand… It took me way too many years to reflect on that and understand it, but I’m not getting into astrology right now. The thing is, he was right. I mean, whatever he was pointing out, it was true about me, but it was something that I was forgetting and I needed him to remind me. And the truth hurts sometimes.

Anyway… I deviated a bit. I want to express that usually dads (I mean, mentally sane dads, not those that drink and beat their wife to death because they came home from work and didn’t find warm food on the table) have this sense of individuality and intuitively treat their children also like a separate individual, always leaving room for them to grow and discover their own personality.

On the other hand, moms, just because the child lived inside of them for 9 months, they think they know them like the back of their palm. They just cannot separate emotionally from the fruit of their loins, it’s too painful. They are not able to accept the fact that they were just temporary vessels for their child to incarnate on this planet. They want something in exchange of the morning sickness and labor pains…

Yes, you gave birth to your child, it’s “your flesh and blood” (well, technically it is really not, because the fetus has its own circulatory system – sometimes even different blood type – and, obviously, a different DNA, otherwise it would be your clone) so you “obviously know what is best for them”. “A mother knows”. Well… not really.

A mother must also educate herself, do her best to read upon the latest standards on health and parenting, but most if all, a mother must understand that the best way to know your child is to ask them. Ask them what they really want. And accept the answer. The truth hurts sometimes.

You know, I always hated when I wanted to explore some topic with my mom and I was being dismissed in one second with “you are saying stupid things!”.

Am I? Am I really?! Just because my vision is different and you don’t agree with it, you don’t have the right to shut me down.

No, I don’t expect you to do everything that I say I want you to do, but I want to know that you care. I want to know that you accept my different-ness. I want to know that I have a positive role in your life, that I wasn’t born only to disturb you or to embarrass you in front of others. I want to know that you still have the ability and the willingness to keep learning and grow as a person.

Yes, dear hypothetical mom, I want you to understand that I am my own self. You are not my slave, but I am not yours either. You are not my “emotional wiping carpet”, but I am not yours either. But you need to tell me this (and remind me as often as needed) in a calm and peaceful way. You should not accept aggressive behaviour from my side, but I should not accept either.

And please, do accept and validate my emotions. My emotions (and my thoughts) are never stupid.

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3 thoughts on “Your child is not your appendix

  1. gainile

    Fantastic post. They should make this a chapter in the “how to raise a child” book, really. It took me a very long time to realize (even though I know it perfectly well in my head, you know how different theory and practice are, right?) that even if my kids took traits (physical and emotional) from both of us, THEY ARE NOT US. They are entirely different people with an entire set of different likes and views on the world, and in order to live in peace, we must all try to get along and understand that being different from each other is actually a good thing 🙂 It’s very hard for any mother to give away her need to control things about her kids, you will see it yourself, it’s ongoing education, we try to educate our kids, but they educate us even more. I am glad you realized this before even having the baby, it might be easier for you after and you might be able to do it faster than most people. I consider myself extremely open-minded and tolerant, and it was a stretch even for me to understand that their way of doing things/thinking/seeing the world is equally right and valid. And now, we all enjoy having discussions from opposing angles and each one bringing their arguments, we all got better at it and the kids understood as well that the world does not revolve around only the way they think 🙂

    Reply
    1. Stefania Post author

      Thank you 🙂 I had a lot of time to reflect and gather information, until I got pregnant. Sometimes I feel like I connect to a higher source of knowledge that gives me these ideas. It is not easy for me to open up about these things, but I have learned so many things from reflecting about my childhood. I strongly believe that the solution to the majority of the conflicts between children and parents can be found by learning how to properly validate your child’s emotions and understanding that the child takes in the reality just as it is presented to them, they come with zero preconceptions.
      I really hope I will be strong enough to apply these things with my baby girl and not get lost in the ignorant crowd, that still tells the children that they were brought by the stork.

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