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Relationships with our Children: Navigating Fear and Love

Relationships with our Children: Navigating Fear and Love

Sue Leppan Transformation Facilitator & Life Coach

Relationships with our Children: Navigating Fear and Love

In the past couple of months, I have had many clients struggling with their relationships with their children.

As parents, our children will always be our children, no matter their age. We remember the little person who arrived on a specific day and changed our life from "me" to "you." You made us parents and warriors (and added 'worrier' into the mix). At the same time, our hearts felt like they would burst with love, yet break with that same love. As parents, we have one overriding dream, and that is to spare our children any hurt or disappointment.

As a child, all I wanted was to enjoy life and experience everything it had to offer. My parents were always there for me as a child, providing love and care, and the enjoyment of hugs and playtime. As I grew older, I made friends who were more like me, and we explored life together from many different angles. Eventually, I discovered my true self and wanted to experience life as the person I am. I wanted to become my unique individual and be true to myself.

It is never easy to let go and it is scary to venture out on your own. 

Parents often have a strong desire to make their children's lives easy, and as a result, they feel the need to "fix" everything for them. However, this can sometimes lead to parents taking over their children's lives and doing things they wouldn't normally do. Parents may notice patterns or stories from their own past that caused them pain or disappointment, and in an effort to spare their children from a similar experience, they take control of the situation. Unfortunately, this can send a message to their children that they are not capable of handling things on their own, and that their parents don't believe in them. Although this is not the parents' intention, it's important to be mindful of the message you are sending to your children.

Young adults are eager to break free and do not want anything to be "fixed" for them. They are full of energy, with dreams and a singular focus on their goals. They do not understand why their parents are so hesitant to live. They are frustrated by limitations while feeling that they can change the world. And chances are, they will. History has proven that it is the youth who bring about change, often with rebellion as the cost. They intend to become that brighter and bigger star that their parents always believed they could be. However, now our parents feel discarded and that they are no longer good enough.

And it is at this point that we get caught in the battle of wills. One side wants to protect and fix, and the other side wants to discover and be fearless. 

Yes, this is your child, but you don’t have owner rights. Yes, this is your parents, but remember there is no safer love than that of a parent.

We are here to teach each other.

When you look at this concept of the two wills, it becomes clear that both parties have something to learn from each other.

Our children play a significant role in our lives by imparting valuable life lessons to us. They remind us of our younger days and how we used to interact with our parents. Through them, we learn to trust more and believe in ourselves and the skills we have passed on to them. Moreover, they inspire us to pursue our dreams and strive to achieve our goals.

As parents, we are now to learn to let go of what we love the most with compassion and grace, so we may discover how big our love is. 

As parents, we instill in our children the importance of being self-sufficient, while also providing them with a sense of security and protection. We teach them to take calculated risks and explore the world around them but to always be mindful of the consequences of their actions. Ultimately, we want our children to understand that their lives are their own and that they must take responsibility for their choices and decisions.

As children, we are now to learn how to discover our self-love with compassion and grace, so we may become our true amazing selves.

Allow your children and yourself to master fears.

We all have fears, some of which we share with others, while others are unique to us. What unites them is that the fears that limit our personal growth and lead to self-sabotage are often the result of stories we tell ourselves about a decision we made when we were young. These stories are often based on the fears of our parents, peers, and society in general, and they are outdated. Over time, we modify these stories so they can make sense in our current situations.

Allow your child and yourself to face these fears. We fear events that have not happened, never considering for a moment that they might be different. Your child is different from you, standing at the precipice of growth. You are different from who you were. You have grown and you no longer need to fear what you feared as a young adult. Imagine all of you can face your individual fears in the knowledge that your love will be the foundation of this milestone.

Moving from parent to mentor.

There comes a point in time when we transition from being a parent to becoming a mentor. As parents, we act as guardians who provide care and support to bring up our children, and we do our best to protect and defend them while we prepare them for adulthood. However, as mentors, we take on the role of a trusted and experienced advisor who guides and counsels others. To do this effectively, we must remain impartial and objective while helping them to achieve their full potential.

As parents, our greatest challenge comes when our children transition into adulthood. We are faced with the task of trusting that the values and skills we instilled in them during their early years will serve them well in their adult lives. This can be a difficult process, as we often question our own abilities and wonder if we did enough to prepare them for the challenges ahead.

My twenty-nine-year-old son called a while ago to ask: “What gives you the right to have a say in a decision I make?” And I had to explain that it is not that I expect him to follow my advice, but as a mother, I will always want to guide him, while I always understand that it ALWAYS remains his choice. Speak to your child, don’t go on the defence, and always honour their right to choose. The most difficult task of shifting from a parent to a mentor is to allow your child to learn through their actions to take responsibility for their own choices and that they should never stop choosing.

Never forget the people who were always there for you.

As we move forward in life and feel invincible, it's crucial to remember the individuals who have always been there for us. Their love and stability will be important as we pursue our personal growth and journey towards realizing our full potential. If we approach this process with grace and compassion, driven by our passions, we'll never feel isolated or unsupported.

It's important to realize that communication is not just about speaking; listening is just as essential and takes up a greater portion of it. Instead of assuming things based solely on your perceptions, try to understand what the other person is saying by asking questions. Don't let your prejudices and biases limit your understanding of the conversation.

The people who love you may come across as limiting, but their intention is to protect you from disappointment and hurt. Despite their perceived actions, it is important to understand that their motivation stems from their love for you and their desire to ensure that you have a soft landing.

Despite being kept safe by those around you, it's important to acknowledge that this is a part of your growth. There is a burning passion within you that yearns to be explored and set free. It's important to pursue this with compassion and grace, as it will serve you well in your future endeavours.

The role of your loved ones is not done yet, this is where you first will learn to follow your conviction, face your fears (and some of theirs), learn to keep your focus, and enjoy this adventure on the foundation of their love.

Nurture and build the new relationship that awaits you.

The bond between parents and children is the most dynamic relationship that can change drastically during our lifetime.

It is a passage of love and respect: for us and our children, for ourselves and our parents. This is a relationship that will witness personal growth for all involved. As a parent from “doing” to guiding. As children from “receiving” to creating. 

This is a chance to establish a connection that is primarily based on love. Although it cannot be compared to the bond you share with your closest friend, it has the potential to become a more rewarding relationship, among individuals who understand each other better than anyone else ever could.

Nurture the opportunity to develop relationships based on unconditional love, acceptance, and support.

Respecting and maintaining boundaries.

This is difficult for both parties.

Parents who offer advice without being asked, move things around in their adult child's space, and demand attendance at events they booked without consulting their child can be intrusive. This is especially true if the child has moved out of the house. Arriving unannounced and being present in their private space when they come home can also be a violation of their privacy.

Some adult children have a hard time being independent and always rely on their parent's home as a convenience store. They make poor choices and then expect their parents to deal with the consequences. They also tend to forget that their parents' home is a private space and they need to respect it. Additionally, they may expect their parents to help them with babysitting, running errands, and other tasks when finances are tight.

It's important to communicate your expectations to one another, especially when it comes to asking for help or guidance. It's crucial to avoid assuming that help will always be available or enforcing your own perspective without being asked. If necessary, sit down and write out what you expect of each other in order to avoid misunderstandings. Parents often want to be involved in their children's lives, while adult children want to be independent and make their own choices. It's important to make time for each other and respect each other's individuality and privacy.

As humans, we are not meant to stay in one place or role for too long. Our purpose is to overcome the limiting beliefs and fears that hold us back, so we can become the amazing beings we were always meant to be. As we grow older and our children mature, our roles in life shift. This shift often brings our greatest fears of loss, hurt, and disappointment to the forefront of our lives. There is no other person on this earth who can teach us bigger lessons than either our children or our parents.

Please have patience with one another. Show compassion for the fears that each of you faces. Allow each individual to grow into something even more spectacular, with grace. Cherish your love for each other, knowing that it will carry you through any difficulties that may arise.

Sue Leppan
Master Transformation Life Coach
NLP Practitioner
Qualified Energy Codes® Facilitator
Qualified BEST® Practitioner

Relationships with our Children: Navigating Fear and Love

Sue Leppan Transformation Facilitator & Life Coach

Sue Leppan is a life, transformation and holistic wellness coach based in Sandbaai, Hermanus. Providing therapy for a range of challenges, Sue specialises in targeting and dealing with emotional trauma, self-doubt, depression, stagnation and self-centring. Whether you need help with personal issues ...

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