Recently, I’ve been hearing stories of parents that are not appreciating the hard work that their children are putting forward. They aren’t appreciating accomplishments that their children deserve to have acknowledged. Worse, they aren’t appreciating their child as a person and are even putting them down.
My daughter’s friend shared with me that he got into USC. Actually, he got into the four schools he applied to: Berkeley, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UCLA, and USC.
When I congratulated him and said to him, “your mom and dad must be so proud of you.” He replied, “My mom didn’t care, she said if it wasn’t Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, then it didn’t matter to her, and my dad didn’t say anything at all.”
I felt an awful surge of disbelief traveling within me. I’m not kidding, his reply left me wide eyed, speechless, and sad. And amazingly, this wasn’t the first time I was hearing something like this. Here is a young man who worked extremely hard to get into these great schools, and we know getting into these schools doesn’t happen overnight, this takes years of hard work.
This young man deserved to hear that his parents were proud of him. He deserved to be congratulated for his grand accomplishment and for all of his effort in realizing his goal. He deserved hugs, kisses, love, and support. Every kid deserves that and should get a little extra in moments when they share something like, “Mom I got into USC.”
We need to open our eyes. Our children NEED us. They need to know that we are proud of them, that we see their hard work, we see them, and we love them!
Every word we say to our children or the words we don’t say to our children leave a lasting impact. We need to be kind to our children, recognize when they are trying or helping out, and see them and listen to them when they share news with us or are looking for support.
Life gets lonely. And I bet those of us who are fortunate enough to have parents that support us and celebrate us couldn’t even picture our lives without that loving support. But what do those who don’t have a support system in their parents do? Who do they confide in or receive advice from? How do they manage not being able to say or share all the things that those of us who are close to our parents are able to? Where is their loving outlet?
“The things we do as parents today will have a lasting impact on our children.” I say this all the time.
We are given one chance to make a child’s life great. It’s our opportunity to empower them by loving them, guiding them, and teaching them. No one wishes to be the person that looks back on their children’s childhood and regrets not having been there or not having shown their children that they were loved. Some parents may have regrets for not having dealt with their own issues or have sought whatever type of help they needed for themselves to allow them to truly be there for their children.
As adults, our kids will learn that they weren’t to blame for anything as children, they did not deserve to be put down, they were good enough, they did deserve recognition, attention, and love. But even though they come to this realization, that child who was looking for their parents approval, love, and support still takes residency within their adult self. And this doesn’t allow them to be at their optimal best. And it takes a lot of work for them to sort through feelings of unworthiness and of not getting the love they needed as a child.
For the sake, happiness, and well being of our future adult kids, we should all make a commitment today to do everything within our power to be present and raise emotionally healthy and happy children.
Monica Luna Gonzalez
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