4 Things I’ve Learned about Raising Children

Both of my sons finished their respective school in July 2021 and I am looking back over how they developed from toddlers to now. The younger one finished his school at 10th grade (but will continue with high school after this). And the older one finished high school. It is time for a review. What have I learned?

Children are different

Kids are different. Like not all flowers become white marguerites, but there are cacti and marsh marigolds and they need different environments to grow, dry vs marshy soil, respectively. And if the school system thinks that everyone should become like a marguerite, then the cacti and the marsh marigolds have a problem.

The people from the education and health system would say, “Where are your white petals? You are supposed to grow orderly and neat white petals. All the flowers here do so. Where are yours? You are delayed. Or you don’t fit in. Something is wrong with you. Let me help to fix you! What? You don’t want to be fixed?! Oh, come on, be compliant! I just mean well.”

And of course, they did just mean well. But I could only shake my head and think, ‘Cacti don’t necessarily grow white petals and look like marguerites. And they don’t grow best in the environment in which marguerites grow.’ I knew that no effort whatsoever from myside would be able to turn a cactus into a marguerite. And I wondered how they would deal with the beautiful, exotic bird of paradise flower (strelitzia). Would they send it to the hairdresser to make the petals look even and neat like from those a marguerite flower? What a shame that would have been.

I don’t have access to the switch in another person’s mind

When my older son had a phase where his room was really messy, I was told I had to teach him how to tidy up. But even though I tried, it didn’t work. Eventually, I gave up.

But my mother and my MIL kept pushing me that I had to keep trying.

After I had given up and let go of the issue, somehow at some time my son started to declutter and tidy up his room on his own. He had watched a couple of youtube videos about life hacks and minimalistic living and that somehow incited him to have a nicer looking room. So, he learned it eventually, but it was not at all influenced by my fruitless attempts at education.

The same thing happened with the body weight of my younger son. He used to be a bit overweight. And no attempts from our side to change eating habits or exercising habits had any effect. But in May 2020, he decided to go strictly vegan and since then he has lost a lot of weight. Again, this change in behavior was not of my doing.

I learned that for change to happen it is like a switch is flipped in the other person’s head. And I do not have access to that switch. I could talk, try to convince, bargain, threaten until I was blue in the face. I could then feel utterly frustrated and stressed out that it was not in my power to make my child behave as I thought he should behave.

Or I could just let go and wait for natural growth to happen. Which was much less stress. Except I had to endure the comments by other people who called me ‘too meek’, or ‘irresponsible’.

Trusting my intuition more than the opinions of others

One of the things about being a parent, and especially a mom, was that suddenly there was a whole army of people who all thought that they knew better and who felt compelled to give me unsolicited advice. Once I was a mom, suddenly many people were all up in my business. They were darn sure that they knew how I had to best handle my children and they didn’t hesitate to tell me. And if I had a different opinion and dared to say so, then they tried to scare me into taking their advice. And if I still didn’t do it, they would become angry and label me, as irresponsible, for example. Again, they all only meant well and wanted the best for us and our children.

I was urged to give my older son into a group daycare when he was under the age of 3 years and when I didn’t do it for various reasons, I was told , “You just wait and see! You will surely run into trouble later if you don’t give him into our daycare.”

When my younger one had violent temper tantrums, I was told that I should not allow him to do this and was given advice on how to handle the situation. Which didn’t work. I had to find my own way of dealing with him.

For both kids, we were advised to not put them into school at the age when we wanted to put them into school. And huge trouble was predicted if we would not follow the advice. But we did it anyway. And even though things were not always easy, there was no huge trouble and things turned out well in the end.

It can be very challenging to trust one’s intuition if people who had some experience and authority are saying to go into the opposite direction. But trusting my inner knowing about what was best for my children despite all the opinions of other people was very important in retrospect.

And trusting my intuition was only one part of the challenge. The other difficult part was to remain calm and polite despite my anger and to set boundaries to overbearing people firmly enough in such a way that they would back off but that the relationship with them wouldn’t be damaged.

Angels showed up when we needed them

During all the turmoil with some overbearing other people and the unruly petals of my special flowers, there was also some help. The kind, patient, and gifted elementary school teacher. The very understanding and supportive medical doctor. The best friend. They all showed up on the path of my kids when they needed them and I was deeply grateful for that.

So, for me, raising children was about lessons in acceptance, letting go of control, trusting my intuition, and trusting in life.

9 thoughts on “4 Things I’ve Learned about Raising Children

  1. They are all there to test us, inner and outer. There are many ‘controllers’ out there that affect us in some way or another and in hindsight I look back and see this…but would everything be as it now is? At the least it showed you what ‘they’ were like and who ‘you’ are while going through it all 😀 ❤️ 🙏🏽 🦋

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is possibly my favourite post, so thank you. I particularly love what you say about switches going off in children’s brains in their own timing, and not ours. And your words point to where the (so-called) spiritual path ends up. Right here, in the messy imperfect flow of everyday life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing that this post resonates with you. I am glad to hear that.
      And I absolutely agree that the spiritual path ends up in the sometimes messy everyday life.

      Liked by 1 person

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    Sidi knows about lightning and thunder is available on @amazon . Available as an ebook and paperback

    Liked by 1 person

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