Hello Beautiful People! Ongi etorri! (Welcome!)
"A parents' greatest masterpiece is their children."-Unknown
There are some kids out there who truly feel entitled and in that state of mind become full-fledged ass holes, especially at the onset of adulthood...yes, this was an actual conversation with a parent who is struggling with her two older teenage sons.
In our role as parents, we have the incredible responsibility of influencing our child/children's personalities and teaching them a value system that they will take into the world to serve them for life. During their childhood and adolescence, the values that we want them to adopt may be in direct conflict with what they are exposed to in the streets, online, and of course social media.
We want our children to grow into emotional maturity, treat others fairly, be kind, have a strong work ethic, be independent thinkers, utilize sound judgment, be capable of mature love for a significant other, develop and maintain strong friendships and lead the type of life to act honorably and value self-respect and respect of others; We want our child/children to understand the value of education and hard work-that these are determined efforts that are sustained over time. I know in terms of myself as a parent of two, I would like to prevent them from becoming entitled or developing characteristics of a narcissistic personality..asshole
If you would lie your child/children to grow up and lead a life of integrity and intention; it is important that YOU lead a life of integrity and intention. Life can be painful and challenging; living in integrity is tested in many ways and we fail from time to time. We may be called on to stand diametrically opposed to the values our child/children are exposed to elsewhere. It takes courage to take a stand with your child/children against many of these values that conflict with your own; It requires the willingness on your part to establish and enforce mandates that will be unpopular and will provoke pushback-especially when they are teens.
There will be times when you feel that you have little or no influence over your child's life, compared to all of these other influential forces (peers, social media, etc..) at any given time, you are only as content as your least happy child, yet even with the seesaw moments we experience in our relationships with our children over the course of a lifetime, we can continue to be a strong positive influence. It is important that we live out the value system we want to impart on our children and set examples for them in our day to day interactions with them; in other words we need to walk the walk, talk the talk.
If your child (like mine) is a teen, influencing values can be a bit dicey. Truth be told, many teens behave narcissistically; some of this behavior may be age-appropriate because teens are struggling to carve out an identity free of their parents which typically manifests itself through defiance, risky behavior, reckless choices, and an adversarial attitude towards parents or individuals of authority.
So what can we do to encourage our child/children to not fall into the abyss of entitlement, risking being an asshole?
We should be our children's safe space; listen to their issues and concerns in a non-judgmental manner; try not to be provoked, angry or dismissive (teens can be very melodramatic and provocative at times) the act of listening shows them that not only do you care, you want them comfortable to be heard and validated.
Encourage your child to think about themselves, their life, and the impact of their behavior on others. Get into the habit of regular discussions; when you inquire about how their life is going, empathize with any struggle they are going through and help them connect the dots between cause and effect in a non-critical way, communication will become second nature between you and your child.
Be open to support their feelings as long as it is in the spirit of understanding and respect. As with listening, validate them, state that you are proud of their willingness to articulate what they are dealing with to you.
Pick your battles
Stand firm on the values that you strongly believe in; be willing to be flexible and let go of issues that are not as important.
Let them know how you are feeling; as hard it was for your child to convey his or her issues, be honest, be vulnerable-if we are talking about integrity and intention, it begins with honesty.
So what if your child is angry or even hateful towards you because you stood firm in enforcing a value. It is tough for a parent to hear and sometimes easier to just give in-it is not your job to be your child's friend; YOU ARE THE PARENT. Trust and believe they are fine knowing that you are in control and in charge at a time in their lives when they feel so out of control and/or confused.