Creative Child

How to Enjoy Your Child For Who She Is

(Not Who You Hoped She Would Be)
by Deborah Song on Sep 21st, 2016

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But it’s crucial to take a step back and pry ourselves away, lest we fail to nurture our children’s unique abilities and talents. After all, as parents we are doing more than raising a better version of ourselves; we are rearing a unique individual, a child with separate and distinct gifts.

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Here’s a good place to start:

  1. Admit it. Bring all of your secret wishes and fears to the forefront of your consciousness. What part of your life are you most unhappy or happy with? It will provide a window into who you want your child to be. When you find it difficult to accept your child for who she is, the culprit more than likely is fear; fear that you are not a stand-up parent, fear that others may perceive you as less than a stand-up parent, or fear that your kids will repeat your same mistakes. Simply being aware of your wishes and fears will help you monitor your thought process and keep your impulses in check. Cultivating compassion for yourself will make it easier to have compassion for your child.
  1. Recognize your child’s uniqueness. So your child has some of your personality traits. Maybe your child has a lot of your same qualities. But how is your child different from you? Identifying their differences as much as their similarities will help you see your child as an individual, separate and distinct from you.
  1. Take time to understand your child’s personality. Expand your knowledge about your child’s traits by stepping outside of your immediate vantage point. Read books about other people who have the same traits and get to know other families whose children may have similar characteristics. Sometimes it helps to see how the same personality traits have manifested well in other people.
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  1. Accept your child. For every negative, there is a positive. Some of the world’s greatest contributions in music, science and the arts, for example, were made by highly sensitive children who grew up to be adults that accepted, celebrated and utilized their unique talents.

    Yes, my daughter’s sensitivity makes her more susceptible to getting hurt. But it is this same sensitivity that enables her to see subtle nuances, and makes her more empathetic to the needs of others. Every child has challenges. But how a child turns out largely depends on how the parent views those challenges, whether it’s seen as an advantage or a disadvantage. Feeling accepted is an important part of feeling loved. Accepting your child gives them permission to accept themselves.
  1. Stop blaming yourself. When your child does need your help, it is neither their failure or your own, but an opportunity to strengthen character, grit, and your bond. When my daughter cries at drop school off, maybe it isn’t something I forgot to do, some sensitive trait I passed on to her, something insensitive I said to her in the morning, or a bad piece of fruit I fed her that possibly offset her PH balance. Perhaps it’s simply an opportunity for her to gain empathy and grow into her own. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not about me—or you—at all.

Deborah Song is a Los Angeles-based writer and the mother of two girls. She received her master’s in journalism from New York University and writes about parenting, business and kid entrepreneurship. You can read more of her work at lemonadepost.com.

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