In your circle of friends, circle of influence and society at large you are the ‘It’ parent. People admire the relationship you have with your children. You proudly talk about your children everywhere you go and the relationship you have with them. As far as you are concerned, you are the SI Unit of parenthood. You silently wonder why the parenthood awards are taking so long to fall into your lap, after all you are the greatest parent that ever lived. And the relationship you have build with your children is rock solid, to be emulated by all.
You look at your parents and wonder what world they live in. You wonder if they have a sight problem. As far as you are concerned anytime the charade relationship they claim to have with you will crumble, scratch that, you actively pray that the charade be exposed. You live a double life. The smiley you with your parents. Talking only what they want to hear. Then the real you with people who accept you for you. Anytime you are with your parents requires an extra ounce of strength and patience, to maintain the ‘look’.
The sad reality is that many parents today (I am a parent) have superficial relationships with their children. They think all is well but in actual sense its a smoke screen: nothing is well.
Every time, I interact with the scenario above (where parents think they have achieved the highest level of success in parenting and their own children have no idea what their parents are talking about) my heart breaks.
My heart breaks because I see pride at work. I see the pride of the parents that has blinded them to their faults and failures as parents. I see the pride that blinds them to seeing the obvious signs that there is a disconnect with their children. I see the pride that would rather maintain the perceived status quo rather than work on issues and develop a real mutual relationship with their children
My heart breaks because I see the pain and loss. I see the pain in the children and their loss of relationship with their parents. The hard work it takes to maintain the ‘look’ the entire charade and it weighs heavily on them. I see their pain and the fear in their eyes when they dare step ‘out of line’. I see the silent tremor on their lips when their parents parade them as a success in public. I see the longing for a real relationship but the pain and fear that it might never be.
So where do we go on from here:
As a parent:
- Take an honest stock of the kind of relationship you have with your child/ren. Not the kind of relationship you think you have: Not the kind of relationship you wish you have – but the relationship you have.
- Write down the kind of relationship you desire to have with your child/ren
- Do everything within your power to bridge the gap between 1 and 2
Remember, honesty is your closest ally in this process and pride is your greatest enemy. Chose honesty over pride every step of the way and you will enjoy the fruits of your choices.
As a child:
- Acknowledge the pain and loss the charade of a relationship you currently have with your parents has caused you.
- As your parents are trying to put their act together, support them and be patient with them
- Never lose sight of the fact and assurance that you are a child of two parents, your earthly parents and God. Whichever way it goes with your earthly parents, Father God will never fail you. He is the Greatest Parent.
- Outgrow the blame game: I am like this because my parents . . .
Developing of real relationship between parents and children takes time and conscious effort. It does not happen overnight and it is definitely not a result of wishful thinking;It takes hard work.
To the young parents:
- You have the opportunity of a lifetime, don’t screw it.
- Make time to know your children and be known by them.
- Spend time listening and interacting with them.
- Genuinely be interested in them and what makes them tick
- Grab the opportunity to grow together
- Pray for yourself and for your children, for the kind of relationship you desire to have with them
- Then work with God and your children to make it happen.
All the best parents and children!