"I just want my children to have fun," is a horrible thought. As parents, we often want nothing more than to see our children happy, especially during the carefree days of summer. We envision their laughter, their smiles, and the memories they will cherish forever. However, in my journey as a parent, I came to realize that my initial belief that focusing solely on my kids' enjoyment would guarantee a perfect summer couldn't have been further from the truth. It led to frustration, resentment, and a sense of helplessness. But, through introspection and a shift in perspective, I discovered a new approach that has transformed the way I approach my parenting. In this blog, I want to share my journey from frustration to freedom, and the valuable lessons I learned along the way.
The Illusion of Control: At the beginning of each summer, I set out with the simple intention of providing my children with endless fun. I planned exciting activities, outings, and adventures that I believed would ensure their happiness. However, I soon realized that I couldn't control their emotions. Even when everything seemed perfect on the surface, they might feel tired, bored, or even upset.
Replacing the Old Thought: Instead of becoming discouraged by this realization, I decided to replace my old thought process with a new one: "I want to provide a fun environment for my children and let them feel however they want." This shift in thinking allowed me to let go of the need for absolute control over their emotions and embrace a more flexible and supportive approach.
Creating a Fun Environment: By focusing on creating a fun environment rather than micromanaging their emotions, I discovered a newfound sense of freedom. I understood that my role as a parent is not to control their feelings but to create an atmosphere that encourages joy, exploration, and self-expression. I started by incorporating elements that sparked their curiosity and encouraged their natural inclinations.
Encouraging Emotional Expression: It became clear to me that allowing my children to experience a range of emotions is an essential part of their growth and development. Instead of trying to suppress negative emotions or always strive for happiness, I began to embrace the importance of emotional expression. This meant being present and compassionate when they experienced frustration, disappointment, or even boredom. By acknowledging and validating their emotions, I helped them develop emotional intelligence and resilience.
Embracing Individuality: Every child is unique, with their own interests, preferences, and ways of experiencing joy. I learned to appreciate and nurture their individuality, understanding that what brings one child happiness may not have the same effect on another. By providing a variety of opportunities for them to explore and discover their passions, I witnessed their authentic selves shine through.
The Gift of Growth: By relinquishing the need for total control and shifting my focus to creating a positive and supportive environment, I witnessed remarkable growth in my children. Their creativity flourished, their problem-solving skills sharpened, and their ability to navigate their emotions matured. They learned to embrace both the ups and downs of life, gaining valuable life skills that would serve them well beyond the summer season.
As parents, it's natural to want our children to experience nothing but happiness. However, it's essential to recognize that true growth and development come from embracing a range of emotions and experiences. By replacing the desire for control with a focus on creating a fun and nurturing environment, we empower our children to navigate their own emotions and discover their own paths to happiness. Let us celebrate the beauty of allowing our children to feel however they want, while providing them with the love, support, and opportunities they need to thrive. Together, let's make every summer a memorable journey of growth, self-discovery, and joy for our incredible little humans.
I have even MORE for you. Download my FREE SUMMER SURVIVAL GUIDE to learn tips and trips to have the best summer yet with your children. Download it HERE