Do we live our unfulfilled dreams through our children - consciously or unconsciously?
Created by Parentune Support Updated on Oct 15, 2019
Like all mothers, or parents, there are moments when I get hit by this onslaught of feelings…feelings regarding my parenting, my children, am I doing enough for them? What can I do better? Anxiety about their future, their development…et all. And nestled amongst these is also a nagging thought “Am I imposing my unfulfilled dreams on my children, consciously or unconsciously?” And it is this what got me writing…
First I will share a brief about myself... I am a Motivational Trainer and founder of JiNa - LivingPositively, an organization with a vision to support others to be prosperous, loving, disciplined and experience freedom through holistic development. I am the eldest among my siblings and we used to live in a joint family. I have seen so many ups and downs in life since childhood that I feel I matured before time. I held myself from enjoying my childhood the way I wanted. Not that my childhood was not good but now when I look back I feel it could have been much better--a few incidents and tit-bits which today also make me believe that it (my childhood) could have been much better or rather much more fulfilling and satisfying.
I love music, dance... today also whenever I feel stressed, or low on energy, music in any form puts that pep back into me - be it vocal, instrumental or whatever. I started learning Guitar but could not continue it as the teacher moved to some other city; Started learning dance but had to leave because of a sad incident - our teacher took us (the group) to perform in Durga Puja and took this decision at the eleventh hour. We did not even have enough time to inform back home and she said that her maid will do that for each one of us. As kids we did not realize the importance of informing our parents first and ourselves rather than trusting a maid.
But all the excitement of giving a spectacular performance at the Durga Puja vanished when I reached home. My parents were fuming with anger.... as they had no idea where I and other girls had disappeared !!! Yes, your guess is right - the maid did not inform them. And they took out all their anxiety, anger, worry on me. That was the last time I performed or danced.
Still these two i.e. music and dance remain with me as my first love. May be that is the reason it (the love for music and dance) has gone down to my daughters. I am blessed with two beautiful daughters - my elder one is 11 years old (she is learning Guitar) and younger on is 5.7 years old (she is learning Kathak).
Do you see any connect to that? Well, now the question is why was I not able to pursue or learn what I loved? Was it because parents at that time were not aware or did not pay much attention to what the child wants? They were happy sending the child to the best school, pay the fees on time, and fulfill the child's basic needs but was that enough? And perhaps this is a situation to which most of us can relate to…not being able to fulfill a passion of ours in our childhood and then passing that passion onto our children.
And yes I have seen that parents do have vicarious desires for their children...and if you think you do not fit into that category of parents then you probably are an offender. So, instead of denying or accepting what we really need to look into is "How to keep these desires healthy?"
1. Be Aware: By being aware of these desires, we will be able to keep them from becoming an overwhelming part of our parenting techniques. Because if these desires remain subconscious within us, we may not sense how much pressure, we are placing on them. However, the child will feel the pressure.
2. Be Involved (but not over the board): It's good to be involved in our child's activities but at the same time we should be cautious of not moving into their space too much. Even if it's encouraging we should not always be the loudest parent standing and shouting just to cheer the child. We probably should refrain ourselves from reviewing each and every single action for perfection every time.
3. Be Away: Yes, as parents we enjoy being involved in everything our child does. But in our attempt to be a Perfect parent we unknowingly become over possesive. And always remember that there is no such term as a Perfect Parent. Our over indulgence into our child's life, signals two very harmful messages to the child, and they are:
a. First, the world revolves around my (the child's) schedule.
b. Second, my success is of utmost importance to keep everyone happy as my parents care more about my actions than me as an individual.
So, as parents it is nothing wrong if we live vicariously through our children to some degree. But at the same time it becomes all the more important for us to do it in a way that keeps us and our children from resenting the time spent on their activities when they are out of the house. Also, as a footnote: before we instill our passion into our children, is it not important to take a step back and see what they want? And with this thought, I will take this thread further after having your views.
| Sep 01, 2015
Good blog Kavita, this can happen to any of us. We as parents make sure the are involved with our daughter. At the same time act as an observer to keep reading her area of interest. She is 3 years now and does a variety of things. Hope we catch her area of passion some day.
| Nov 11, 2014
very well expressed thoughts... most parents would identify with this
| Nov 11, 2014
this is a very nice blog... i will try and limit my own desires and aspirations that i so unconsciously pile on my children sometimes.
| Nov 11, 2014
very good blog and so true. in fact, i believe that almost all parents do this and end up squashing their child's desire in turn. This makes the cycle complete and generations can't break out of it.