When you look at your baby and you see that little face, it's hard not to plan an entire future for them.
From what they wear day to day, to what they say in their valedictorian speech at their Harvard graduation ceremony. It's hard not to get carried away. Even become intoxicated by power. Sadly many parents fall into a trap of projecting their hopes and dreams so strongly onto their children.
Some children will eventually accept the fate their parents predestined for them, while others rebel. Rebellion can be both destructive and constructive. Rebellion leads to our social evolution. Young people, for better or for worse, rebel against the ideal of generations past, leading in directions that tell you what to wear, to when to go to war. The children who absorb their parents influence can lose out in knowing their personal identity.
This concept can effect in all areas of the child's life, such as religion, diet, health, education, political beliefs, emotional well being, etc... I could write books going over this in any of these one topics, but I feel it's better to narrow down basic problem that effects all these areas and that is control. Whether you work a low level job and project your anger on your children or a successful business person, determine to mold your children into your image, these concepts are direct causes of the destructive behavior you are trying to avoid.
As parents, we will influence our children, but what is okay to guide and direct and when do we let well enough alone?
Often I hear adults assert to children, of future plans. Seemingly innocent comment to an impressionable child future predictions. " When you get married" and "When you have children of your own." It assumes to the child they will get married and have children. Children have these assumptions drilled into them very early on. Family, friends and society asserting directions of large decisions onto children, which should be a personal decision an individual should make themselves.
I have met men and women who do not want a relationship. Whoopi Goldberg is a perfect example of person who enjoys being single. In an interview with William Shatner, Shatner kept pushing the idea of feeling alone, but Goldberg explained essentially, that being alone didn't mean she was lonely. Many people feel this way. It's part of their individuality. Being in a relationship for a person who isn't ready or doesn't want to be in one, can lead to abuse, neglect, adultery, depression, etc.... Mostly it will bring unhappiness to
the individual who doesn't want a relationship or the advancement of marriage. Just because your marriage, your parents marriage, in-laws marriage, were happy doesn't mean your child will carry this sentiment.
This also applies to having children. For myself, being a parent is wonderful and my daughter is the joy of my life. I've always wanted to be a mother. Although I love being a parent, I completely understand that this responsibility is not for everyone. There are lots of people who do not want children. People who don't want children rank high on the list of people who should not have them. These people often have other dreams like traveling, careers, wealth, healthier marriages (quite often divorces happen shortly after a new child comes into the family,) and much more.
One of my friends, who doesn't want children, has three horse's. She works tirelessly to support them, while studying to be a veterinarian. I honestly don't know how she does it. I admit I couldn't do what she is doing and I admire her for it.
Another huge mistake parents often make is forcing college and careers onto their children. This is a mistake you will regret. Not all children are meant for college and there is nothing wrong with that. There are many careers offered in trade schools that can even offer higher salaries and benefits than some of the more common careers college graduates receive. If your child has learning disabilities, behavior issues, immaturity or other concerns, college may be just a waste of money. It's not impossible for people with any of these problems to graduate college, but desire is key.
Even if your child is a super genius, if he or she doesn't desire the career path they are on, it can again result in their unhappiness. Your son may have trouble listening, but taught himself how to program computer and can financially support himself that way. Your daughter might go to college, but wants to pursue an art career, instead of accounting as you hoped. Rather than threaten to take away her financial support, compromise. Suggest she takes marketing to promote their art. Where you may see education as a way to reach financial independence, your children see it as an opportunity to do something with their life they enjoy. I encourage both.
Children are not branches that extend from your trunk, if you were a tree, but the fruit which grows from your ever bending branches. Your seed, which will separate from you and grow their own way.