Shifting focus or the kids are all right

It occurs to me that most parents (myself sometimes included) spend far too much time obsessing over “how our kids are doing”.

It’s a national parental pastime.

Mostly this involves constant comparisons to guage how our kids measure up to other kids; in school or learning, in sports, in looks, in height, in eating habits, sleeping habits, ‘screen time’…. you name it.

Discussions with other parents tend to fall into two categories: The first involves a lot of wringing of hands and commiserating over our childrens’ failings or flaws.  The second involves spending time listening to parents boasting or engaging in one-upmanship regarding the wonderful achievements of their kids – especially compared with yours.   (Unless you are the parent doing the boasting, which is just the flip side of the same coin…)

Sometimes I want to blow a very loud whistle and call “Time Out”!   (Not in the punishment sense but in the ‘let’s take a break from the game’ sense.)

Really, truly, I think everyone needs to relax.   Maybe find a hobby that doesn’t involve the kids.  Maybe just stop the analyzing, directing and worrying and let yourself and your kids be.   Enjoy your kids for who they are and stop worrying about who they will become and what they will do with their lives.

If they are loved and supported and given some space and freedom, they will likely be fine.  Happy even. Dare I say, satisfied?

I know that all the obsessing over kids is done in the name of helping them be fine and happy and satisfied, but I think it has the opposite effect.   All the anxiety and stress and worry gets passed on to them, even if we think they aren’t aware of it.  (Any time you think your kid isn’t aware of something that is going on in your house, you are probably wrong.)  And that is not a recipe for happiness & satisfaction.

So instead of worrying that your kid doesn’t know as much as her peers, read a book that’s been sitting on your shelf forever.   Or go on an outing with your kids just for fun – see a movie or go fishing or  make cookies or buy ice cream.   Take up a hobby that is just for you; living the example by being someone who is passionate about the things they enjoy is one of the best gifts you can give your kid.

Listen to your favorite music.  Play it loud and dance, even.

By shifting your focus away from the minutiae of ‘how your kids are doing’ you will give them space to thrive in their own way and time.

And the kids will be all right.

2 comments on “Shifting focus or the kids are all right

  1. Blake Boles says:

    This argument reminds me of one in “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids” by Bryan Caplan.

  2. […] ‘Enjoy your kids for who they are and stop worrying about who they will become and what they will …- Learn new things for yourself, spend time with your kids, be here, right now. […]

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