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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Children don't "Owe" Parents

I was raised that I "owed" my parents.

Because I "owed" them they were able to manipulate me to act they way they wanted me to. If I didn't act that way, then they withheld love, yelled at me, gossiped about me because it wasn't about my life, wants or desires, it is all about them and theirs.

Even as an adult, this "owing" is still there. It's more important then my relationship with others, more important then our spouses, more important then our own children, more important then our jobs, friends .... everything.

Everything we do is suppose to be about them and bringing them joy, It's impossible to bring joy to someone who thinks I owe them and that my life is to please them and fulfill their dreams - which is an impossible feat.
When I became a mother I had this same thought process - even though I wasn't aware that I did or that anything was wrong with that thought process. 

As a mom I wanted Jason's life to be much easier then mine was. I worked really hard all the time, played with him, sacrificed for him and loved him. 

With my warped upbringing and state of mind, I felt because I had sacrificed so much for him that he "owed" me to be good, never make a mistake, do well in school - basically be perfect all the time.

It was a lot of pressure that I put on that little boy.

By the time Jason was a teenager he was rebelling all the time. I was so angry that he wasn't being "good" and being everything I wanted him to be - to fulfill my dreams. I felt he "owed" me to be everything I wanted him to be because I had sacrificed and raised him by myself. AND by golly he should be an obedient son and not give me any grief.

During a visit with my visiting teacher I unloaded my frustration at raising a teenager who wouldn't tow the line. I was being a miserable angry mom because my child wasn't doing everything to fulfill my dreams and expectations I had for him. 

She said, "Sondra, Jason doesn't "owe" you. Children don't "owe" their parents anything."

I was taken by surprise. She didn't agree with me, she pushed back. I didn't know what to say. I was kind of angry that she actually didn't agree with me and told me so. 

After she left I thought about what she said. Then a light bulb flashed on and I knew she was right. This is the wisdom I gained that day:
Why Children Don't "Owe" their Parents:

1. You chose to have children. You chose to get pregnant, follow through to the birth, chose to keep the baby. 

2. You chose to be a caregiver, to take the responsibility of providing for your child's physical, emotional and mental well-being.

3. Your children don't owe you thanks for your own decisions.

4. Children are not born with a burden to fulfill. They are born perfect children free of any responsibility to be part of the family and your life. 

5. They just don't "owe" you. They are here to live their lives, growing and learning in a way that makes sense to them. 

6. They are not here to meet your needs. They are not here to prove themselves to you. They are not here to be perfect. You are the person responsible for that child, not the other way around. 

7.  It's your job to meet your own emotional needs. It's your job to fill yourself with love. It's your job to care for your own well-being, give yourself the things you love or want and make sure you are happy - not theirs

8. Your children and no one "owes" you happiness, love, obedience or anything. 
I wished I would have had this light bulb moment earlier when Jason was a baby instead of a teenager. I think I would have been a better mom. I think he rebelled because I pushed so hard and wanted him to be perfect. 

Now that I am aware that I also don't "owe" my parents anything - I resist that unhealthy behavior and pressure they give me. I don't "owe" them anything .... it was their choice to become a parent - I had no choice to become their child. The same thing with my children. 
I am a much healthier person because I understand this truth. My children don't owe me anything and I don't owe my parents anything.

My children are free to live their own life the way that makes sense to them.

And you know what? I love them unconditionally. More now that I don't expect them to meet my needs and be the clone I thought I expected them to be. 

I thank my visiting teacher every day for giving me this truth. She was bold and she gave me the wisdom I needed. She changed my life. Without this knowledge, I don't think I'd be as happy as I am with life and with my children. 

I hope you also learn this truth - Children don't "owe" their parents anything.

“Love doesn't have to be earned. It either is or it isn’t. And it doesn't come with a list of conditions that say “I’ll only love you if…….”

1 comment:

Valerie said...

That's wonderful that you were able to have someone help you see a different way to look at things, and that you were willing to see a change that needed to be made. Either way, I'm sure your children always felt your love! But it's great that you were able to break the chain in a toxic behavior.

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