We shouldn’t “should” on ourselves and our kids

All we have is all that exists in this moment.

In working with children with developmental delays and those with mental illness diagnoses, it is becoming clear to me how much our attachment can block progress for those we care about.  We have expectations about how our children will develop.  I think it is natural for us to compare our child’s development to other children.  I think we want the world to be gentle and supportive of our kids and we want their needs to be met easily, consistently, and predictably.  I think one of the hardest parts of being a parent is realizing that none of this is a given, and none of it is really under our control.  I think it is healthy to recognize where our kid is and what the next single step might or could be. To do the best that we can with what truly is the way it is.

I am proposing that we have a healthy, conscious awareness that we do not control how our children will develop, how they will compare to other children, or how their needs will be met.  I am suggesting that when we practice daily to accept this, we may find ourselves open to seeing the flow of how they individually are equipped to engage in their own ways of progressing and support them within this way.  If we have clean lenses about who they are and what they are actively needing and developing, then we can give them the best chance of seizing the opportunities and receiving the gifts that are present from moment to moment.

This is where we take a healthy look at how we “should” on our kids and ourselves.  How many mindful moments have we missed by “shoulding” on ourselves and our loved ones, especially our kids? “I should have known better, he should know this by now, I shouldn’t have to explain this again, you should have asked me for help before bedtime, she should be reading by now, he should know how to share, she should have graduated by now”, and so on and so on.  As advocates for our kids, we also need to be sure that we don’t empower others to “should” on them either.  I think these are indicators of a false reality that we are attached to.  The sooner we let go of what we think “ought” to be, the sooner we can check in to what is and be present and engaged with what we value and what is valued by whoever and whatever we’re sharing current space and time with.

The more conscious we are of this, the more I think we can support an environment where we wholeheartedly engage in what each of our children are needing, loving, and growing into moment by moment.

Grace in, peace out