It seems easy enough to connect the dots to my story as an adult reflecting back to my childhood. The choices and decisions my parents faced and made have new clarity and understanding to my adult perspective. My story has been written and my perceptions of my parents’ part in my story are pretty much set. I view them as the producers of my screenplay. It’s a story that remains in constant editing due to the various perspectives that each person who lived through my story experienced.
You, as parents, are active producers to your child’s story right now. They are writing and directing their story through a child’s logic, understanding and emotionally consumed manner. You as the producer are helping to guide, foster and coordinate. You are working hard to demonstrate positive and productive ways to enhance and grow their screenplays. Your hope as the producer is that they will prosper and fare well with a production that leads to healthy choices with a balance of logic and creativity.
Of course, we need to factor in various environmental and social influences that contribute to some of a child’s choices. This is where the parent lacks control in their child’s story. You only have control of your role and how you will be reflected back by your child. Think back for a moment on your feelings around your parents and their choices in directing your story and outcomes. Do you ever feel they restricted your ability to become your authentic self or delayed you in getting to your current self?
So, what does your role already look like in your child’s story? Do you see yourself as the producer or are you trying to be the director? Are you allowing your child to learn through their lens, fail, experience success and most importantly develop an authentic self? Do you notice areas you want to change but are unsure how to face the change?
I challenge you to be a producer in your child’s screenplay. One that truly supports, guides and fosters a self in your child that is true to them, unique and individualized. This post is not intended to educate but more to stimulate thought and reflection on how you want to be seen in your child’s story 20 years from now.
Helpful tips to being the producer:
1. Model and demonstrate choices and behaviors you hope your children will see and choose to emulate. Everything you do and say in front of your children, they hear it and they see it. Often, they don’t understand and have misguided interpretations of the information they are absorbing. These misguided understandings may result in a variety of manifestations from anxiety to anger to attachment or avoidance issues affecting how they respect or love you. You are helping to shape and develop their minds every moment through your words and actions. Modeling can be the loudest language we speak as adults. What children see their parents do or say, must be right. They may question it or be curious but parents can often do no wrong in their children’s eyes. They may struggle to delineate right from wrong when watching their parent’s choices, actions and behaviors.
2. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repeat yourself and be okay with it. This is how we make common sense common for children. Common sense is only common due to repetition and life experience that children have not built yet. Each time they are exposed to new information, they hear and see it and can often times, completely misunderstand it. When you accept that it is okay to repeat yourself, you are providing consistent known information for them to make more and more common in their brains.
3. Have expectations for your child that are important to them. Be consistent with your expectations.
4. Be consistent with rules and safety. Evolve those rules as your child grows and develops. Avoid basing rules on how you were raised but based on the boundaries your child needs.
Think about your interactions with your children. Enjoy them, guide them, see them and love them as they become their unique self, just as all of us do.