Do We Really Know what's Best for Our Children?
I find myself asking this question over and over again! As a parent I might come to think that the answer is yes, we know what’s best for our children. Do we? Where have I heard this before? Am I following my mother’s footsteps by doing the very thing that I used to hate?
As a counsellor who works with children, my view changes as I hear children over and over again saying: 'What is the point, no one listens'. Or, 'I have no voice, I feel that I’m doing what I have to and not what I would like to!'
Boundaries are important in a child’s life. Without boundaries children become almost like wild animals in a jungle, but having a sense and understanding of our children's needs helps us all to develop healthy relationships and build stronger bonds with each other. After all, as Melanie Klein says, the good enough mother, is not the one that’s perfect but the one who strives to do her best. This means making mistakes as we go along, without losing empathy towards that person, who sometimes is so lost and confused trying to find themselves in this crazy world, and also doing the best we can do within ourselves. After all, parenthood does not come with a manual, but as long as there is love and some understanding there will be room for development on both parts.
In my work with children, I have come across very anxious children, who are so frightened of doing anything wrong that they even find it difficult to make simple decisions. I have also seen children who attend family therapy and are so scared of saying something wrong they end up agreeing with everything parents say, once again suppressing their feelings and not having their needs met.
In a society where mental health is becoming an everyday topic, sometimes I hear parents saying they are 'not sure what went wrong, he/her had everything'. But did that child have a voice, have a say? Has his or her mental health been affected because we as parents are trying so hard not to follow our parent’s footsteps that we end up doing just that? My own experience has also taught me that the voice telling me I wasn’t “good enough” was just my mum’s voice telling me she was always right.
Therapy is a magnificent way of healing; healing childhood wounds and pains, and mostly therapy can guide us to find that little voice within, which has been fighting to come out and to say 'you’re not perfect but you know, that's okay'. Sometimes it’s okay not to be okay and not to be right all the time. After all, we cannot learn unless we experience difficulties, unless we have lived that moment, walked that walk, taken chances and had the courage to make changes. My own experience has guided me to help others and to make a difference with a generation who is in so much need of someone to listen to them without judgement and with a deep understanding and empathy.