What does it mean to be a parent?

???????????????????????????????I have no natural children and I always thought that I would have. It was my dream as a young woman to be married to the same man all my life and to have many children. You see, I love children. I love working with them, teaching them and relating to them. I am a giver to children and a lover to a man. But you can’t be a lover to man, if he doesn’t know how to separate being a father and being a husband, or if he isn’t a ‘real man’.  HA!

I always knew the relationship begins and ends with the man and woman(husband and wife) that children are secondary to this relationship…as in this observance is one of the most powerful and influential ways children learn to relate and especially to that of the opposite sex.

Fortunately, early on, I realized that if I was unhappy in a marriage with a man whom I came to lose admiration for, came to loath his habits, his character, and his life-style, that this was not a man whom I would want to have children with. So, I didn’t. I got out of the marriage, instead of bringing a child into it. Unlike some women, and also some men, who ‘think’, if we have a baby, it will make everything better, as this rarely is the case because a child’s needs only serve to make things more obvious and extreme. Therefore, in many cases worse, and I instinctively knew this. 

I had a stepdaughter, and have assisted in rearing two young boys into young manhood, of a man I dated at length. And I have taught children and volunteered in positions where I interacted with many. I get along with children and relate well with them. They usually respect and love me. Might it be because I treat them as children? I don’t use them, lean on them, have them fill-up some gap in my life, or have them take over a place, some lack, or issue in my life where children do not belong.

I have friends who treat their children as something else other than children. A friend, I have known for 25 years has told me repeatedly how she can’t stand her husband and wants out of the marriage. She had a young son, when we first met, then later had a daughter. Her husband is emotionally abusive. I have listened repeatedly for years then advised that she leave him. As I would have left this man immediately and certainly not had children with him. Yet, she stays with him and states it’s ‘because of the children’ that she does. Now, she says that once their youngest gets out of highschool she will leave. But, she said that about her son then went onto have another child. Now, her life is centered around her daughter as this is her ‘excuse’ for staying in a terrible marriage. She uses her daughter to fill up her emotional emptiness.

But recently, her daughter said,”I will never get married. I think you should leave Dad. He is mean. I hate being around him. Don’t leave me alone with him.” So clearly the example being set by this marriage staying together at all cost …is not serving anyone. Is my friend afraid to leave? Does she stay out of ‘duty’? Does she think she deserves the abuse? Who knows? She’s the breadwinner in the family and she for the most part is a great mother. All the husband does is to criticize and fight. The marriage is a farce, the children know it and the observation of this dysfunction, disordered, abuse along with my friend’s inability to get out, has damaged the children’s take on what healthy relating is between a man and a woman.

I have another friend who ‘lives’ for her children. Her husband is a great provider and she walks through the motions of being a ‘wife’, while her life is really only about ‘her kids’. It’s all she talks about. She hardly ever talks about herself. I have asked her many times about her goals and her life and all she does is talk about her life lived through her children. And listening to her makes me sad and I actually find it pathetic and a horrible example for her children.

I have met men who ‘spoil’ their children rotten. Then wonder why, they fail classes, have no ambition, don’t take care of their belongings, talk back to them and get into all sorts of trouble. It seems obviously clear to me, the why of it.  Sure kids should have their goodies and have fun. But ‘some parents’ today, ‘think’ their ‘ego-pride’ of showing the world how much money they have and what they can buy for their children is more important and valuable than teaching their children values and setting the standards to develop their children’s character. They let their children run the show, pull them this way then that, while they stress and wonder why their children are the way they are and wonder why they show them little to no respect. The truth is the children do not respect the parents because the parents let them walk all over them. These particular parents may have grown up with lack, so they want to make sure that their kids have everything that they didn’t… things.

I know women who treat their sons as if they are their ‘husbands’ relying on them way too much for their emotional needs, if not entirely. It’s children who deserve and need your support. Parents are there to ‘support’ and to ‘nurture’ children first and foremost, instead of the other way around. They don’t need your immaturity, emotional lack and your trauma being put on their backs to carry as they are growing, learning and ‘trying to mature’ into adults.

Immature parents create children who don’t mature, who escape into drugs, Internet games, sex and other negative activities. This is so obvious that it shouldn’t need to be said, but unfortunately, it does.

Some people have children only so that ‘they’ will have someone to ‘love them’. How twisted is that? You should not have children, until you are prepared to love, nurture, guide and support them. And if you can’t do that for yourself, how do you think you can do this for a child? The obvious point is, you can’t! So, why are you having children? Do people even ‘think’ now days about what the responsibility of having a child is and  what it really means?

Then the men who state, “Well, ‘she’ got pregnant.” As if they had nothing to do with it. Men who make comments such as this disgust me beyond belief. They take no responsibility for any of it. They are the ‘child-men’ of this world… the non-men.

Then we have this kind of a situation…  My ex-husband treated his daughter, before I met him, like she was an adult. When she was a toddler, he took her to business dinners, even formal ones, and talked with pride about how adult she was.

My own Father hearing him brag of this told me it’s not right for the child. It is putting too much pressure on her. He is using her like a date, or as if she was a woman. And my Father was correct. My ex-husband could relate more to a child than he could a grown woman and as this became clearer to me, I exited…

It can seem easier to the emotionally immature to fulfill a child’s needs then to interact and deal with a grown woman. I have observed some men who put all their relating into and onto their children and use them as an excuse… how sad for all concerned. Men who do this are usually afraid of real intimacy with a woman. Once, I had a man tell me he needed to ask his daughter if he could take me out. HA! Idiot man! Then throughout the years, I have listened to men tell me that they can’t do this and that because of their kids. They seem to ‘think’ that catering to their children makes them a ‘good father’ … When it makes them a fool and is detrimental to their kids and what they observe.

And it’s interesting, my stepdaughter wanted to live with me after the divorce and not with her Father, or her Mother. And the reason was, perhaps, because, I treated her like the child that she was. I didn’t put ‘me’ onto ‘her’. I set boundaries that I expected her to live by and she thrived, even though she fought and balked at first and even told me, I was mean… she came to love it. Sure, I wanted to be the loved stepmom, but I cared more for her than me. So, I stuck to my guns. When I met her, she was a spoiled rotten over-indulged and overly-doted upon child and I assisted in taking that burden off of her. She could be a child with me without the weight of the issues of her parents. So, she felt free, instead of weighted down.

Ponder…

If you drink, then tell your children not to drink..
If you are promiscuous, then tell your children not to be…
If you are a liar, a cheat, or lazy, then tell your children not to be…

It just doesn’t play…

Children see who you really are and that is how and who they model and learn from. It’s not what you say, it’s how you live, what you do each, and everyday, the choices that you make, the real you is how and where the imprint is passed from you to your children…

Now, some children as they grow and mature, will attempt to choose the ‘opposite’ of who their parents are and what they model, if they felt abused or harmed, but even in so doing, they ‘may’ still choose the same, as it’s their imprint that guides them. But, at times, observing what you don’t want will enable a person to choose differently to create what they would rather have…

It’s all individual… and children deserve to be their unique self as much as is possible without the baggage of their parents weighting them down.

Clearly children observe and learn from who you are, not who you ‘pretend’ to be, not who you ‘think’ you are, but who you really are.

In my opinion, rearing a child is the most important job in the world. It’s a sincere, deep and profound responsibility. One that seems to be taken way too lightly today. Either that, or some parents use their ‘child responsibilities’ as an escape and excuse for not having a relationship with an adult partner and not ‘growing up’ themselves. Preferring to interact and wallow in their issues and neediness of the imprint from their own childhood, or what they can’t look at in themselves. Therefore, they project their damaged and disordered imprint onto their children…

After all, it’s easier for some men and women to relate to children than it is to relate to an adult partner.

In my opinion, children need to be treated as children, not adults, and certainly not like a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, or to take up the emotional space of a spouse that is no longer there.

Adults who are emotionally needy children, ‘need’ to stop having children, out of irresponsibility, or the desire that the child fill them up, or to heal themselves in some regard.

I have no natural children, but in ways, I have had many…and I can see and observe their hearts, their wounds and their sensitivities, etc.

A parent’s positive and negative traits are what a child breaks against to become who they will eventually become…

I know that’s what I did. And oftentimes, it takes most of a lifetime to realize, and to process into awareness the realization of what was imprinted on you as a child, then to be able to stand back and outside of it, in order, that you see your parents as people, so that you become whole and able to choose freely.

It takes a Mother and a Father to rear a child. It takes the example of the male and the female… to create healthy wholeness in a human and in humanity…

On this Father’s Day… how about think about how you relate to your children and what kind of an imprint you are making on them and what they will carry from you for their entire life.

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