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The Privilege of Parenting

As a parent, we often believe that we know what is best for our children. Sometimes, the wisdom of our life experience leads us to conclude we have our children’s best interests at heart and that what we know, is right for them. For example, the view that steering our children to choose medicine or law as a career would secure a higher salary and a better material standard of living.

But, what if your child has an intuitive calling to follow a more creative life path? To become an artist, a singer, an actor, or a photographer? The artists of the world bring an ethereal pleasure to people’s lives. The vibrational lift of a beautiful image, listening to a voice or harmonies which transcend the mundane dimensions of life can lift human emotions and mood beyond measure.

Neither choice of vocation is right or wrong. However, when your child chooses one over the other, this can lead to much parental angst. But how do you know which path is truly best for them? Surely there are times when we must trust that their inner being is singing or searching for a different, unique sound on a frequency that our parental ears simply may not be able hear.

Do you become the authoritarian parent, or the democratic one? If you are funding the course or your child’s lifestyle, do you have the right to dictate the choice of subject matter for their studies, or their profession?

Sadly, parents who drive or force their children to make prescribed decisions, ultimately disempower them. Their children can follow the course of least resistance and comply – or of course, they may choose to rebel. They may even withdraw.

What would you prefer? To hear your grown up child describe their early life as happy, safe and secure where they felt supported and encouraged by adults around them? Or would you choose the alternative – a potentially unhappy existence, a life spent with low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy and lacking in alignment with their internal guidance system, having had it silenced, or redirected throughout their lives?

There is no manual on parenting. We only have one chance with each of our offspring. When in doubt ask yourself the following question: "What is best for them"? And not, "what is best for me".

Jackie is a person centred counsellor, with many years of experience working with children and families within school environments. She has a family of her own, and uses her personal experience to enrich her professional perspective on human emotions. She follows the principles of non-judgemental acceptance of the clients she works with, together with unconditional positive regard, authentic listening and empathy.

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