“What do you mean you want to study arts? Random paintings and doodling around will not pay the bills! You should study medicine or engineering. Maybe even law. You need to study something fancy that has its own value!”
Chances are you probably heard something similar yourself or know someone who has. Many of us have had close and even extended family members weigh in about our own life choices. The simplest most common example is when parents force their kids to pursue a particular degree because it sounds “good.”
I have heard so many stories of people who ended up studying medicine simply because their parents want them to. And even though many families might mean no harm, they are unconsciously causing more harm than good. It’s almost like some parents want to live through their own kids, oblivious to the harm they might be causing to their kids and society at large.
Children are not a property to control and decide for. They have the right to make their own choices and learn as they go. That is not to say leave children completely on their own, but instead it just means that we need to give space to children and youth to experience life and create their own path. For instance, if your son or daughter wants to major in something that you do not perceive as good enough then let them.
You need to accept that they have the right to make their own choice. What you can do as a parent is give them advice and talk about it. But what you absolutely should not do is force them to study something YOU think is right. Parents should be there for their kids to guide them through life and hold their hands along the way. They are not here to control them, make choices for them or even worse undermine who they are.
This applies to other life decisions they need to make especially how and if and with whom they want to create a future family. They may wish to live in another country or create their own work or run for parliament.
It is pivotal that parents look at their sons and daughters in a different lens than just a parental one. They need to look at them as humans with their own freedom and opinions. As your children start to grow older and experience life outside the walls of your safety, they will start to develop their own opinion and thoughts about things.
It is quite necessary that you give them the space they need to explore things on their own and create their own perception and beliefs. By doing that you are not only giving them the right to decide but you are telling them that you respect and trust them enough to let them be.
As hard as it might be, sometimes taking a step back and letting your own children pave their own path, even if you do not approve of it, can be the best thing you can ever give them. You do not have to like how they live or what they choose to do with their lives, as long as they are not hurting themselves or others, then they should have a say in how their lives will look like.
By nurturing freedom, acceptance and support, we are building a generation that can create wonders and push for real tangible change. The world needs more supportive, accepting, and caring parents more than anything else.
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