In addition to all this, their child does not seem to have a clear vision or plan as they transit into adulthood. It is no more the truck drivers, pilots, or race jockeys that they wanted to be, while they were kids. Obviously, parents have the faintest idea as to what their children’s visions, goals, and ambitions are. Therefore, how do parents cope with this? What can they do to guide their children?
First, accept the fact that all kids (with the exception of the extremely talented and brilliant ones) go through this phase. More so, it is also normal for parents to go through various emotional patches, when they feel that their kids seem to lack an understanding to move into adulthood. Without this clear path, parents fill their minds with the worst-case scenario, i.e., just about anything negative.
Another common factor is jealousy and resentment. These emotions arise when you see your child’s peers doing better than your child does, and you tend to blame yourself for your child’s failure and lack of direction. Just remember, that it is too early to blame yourself or your kid. They are going through their happiest days, and there is no need to spoil that, as it will never return. Besides, only a few failures make a person successful. So never, ever be judgmental at this phase. Just promote open communication, identify his or her likes, dislikes, and slowly channel that into what you feel best for them. Never ever feel guilty, resent just because their peers are doing better. Just remember, most of the leaders are mostly backbenchers!
It is also important to understand that it is normal for kids, at this stage to explore various opportunities, instead of focusing on one specific goal. Do not let them become nerds or burnouts. Discovering their interests, and more importantly, what they are interested in not doing, is common during this developmental stage. Any kind of parenting at this stage, can have a solid impact where their emotions run high. So be careful and always channel open communication.
The entire transition phase is a voyage of discovery. Most of us would have set personal goals during this phase, and you will be surprised at how many really achieved it. Although, most of us would have had certain convictions, it would have been through various opportunities and experiences that what we are today. We would have later realized that most of our initial goals were not appropriate in the long run.
The most important values that you could pass on to your child are still the good old fashion ones. The ones, most of us were given a good measure of. Hard work, spend little, save more, gratefulness, being polite, giving to the less fortunate and the rest. Of course, today it would be whether to upgrade to the latest iPhone and other gadgets. Of course, this is entirely a personal choice. It all depends on the openness you share with your kids. There is no harm in providing what they want as long as you feel they deserve it. If you feel that they should earn and buy what they want, that too is entirely your choice. In short, be the parent that you want to be rather than being the parent that the others want you to be.
Until kids fully grow into adults, keep setting those fine boundaries, with subtle leverage. Try not to bring power play into it, as it will destroy all open communication efforts.
The transition into adulthood is all about change. The bottom-line is not to compare your kid with others kids and highlight their failures, but to guide them through this phase. Be there to share their anxieties and support them, and to always have an open communication channel with them. Even if you feel that they are turning to other sources for advice, do not feel that you have failed as a parent. It is only a matter of time that they would leave and be on their own, and you cannot be always there to help them. It is the parameters of the relationship that matter and not boundaries.
Basically, we are not soothsayers and no one can predict the future. We do the best we can, and in all likelihood, it would turn out for the better. Besides, children feel a sense of achievement, when they achieve what they wanted by themselves and without any external help.
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