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“The Best Kept Secret of Parenting”

Moms and Dads, listen closely because I have something to tell you. Please promise not to tell anyone because this is a secret that I bet no one else has ever told you. Are you ready? Here goes: we don’t like everything about our kids. Yeah, I said it. I am a Family Coach, a special education teacher, and the mother of an adult son and daughter. I have been working with children for several decades and I love kids of all ages, babies through adults. So I know what I am talking about when I tell you that we don’t like everything about our kids.

Now don’t get me wrong. We love our kids, we are proud of our kids, we are thrilled with our kids, we want nothing but the best for our kids, and (most of the time) we wouldn’t trade them for anyone else. But let’s be honest. Our children have a few traits that we don’t like. Some of our kids have traits that we don’t like because they remind of their other parent, and we had hoped our kids wouldn’t get that trait. Some of our kids that traits that we don’t like because they remind us of ourselves. And again, we had hoped our kids wouldn’t get that trait. My husband and I had one child who didn’t talk a lot (just like Dad), and that was occasionally frustrating to both of us. We also had one child who talked a lot (just like Mom) and that too was sometimes frustrating to us.

Some parents like to go to bed early but their young child is a night owl who is still wide awake at 9:00 pm. Some parents love to read but their children just don’t get the pleasure of losing themselves in a good book. Some parents are gourmet cooks who have children whose favorite food is macaroni and cheese…everyday. Some of our kids are louder than we had hoped for, some are more introverted than we had expected, and some truly thrive in a messy room while we love bins and baskets.

I believe most parents have had the experience of saying to themselves, “I wish my kid didn’t do that” or “I wish my kid would do that”. Now think about your partner. Do you like everything about him or her? Most likely you have thought “I wish he enjoyed this more” or “I wish she enjoyed that less”. (Fill in your own blanks. I am not getting in the middle of that one!) It doesn’t mean you don’t love your partner, it just means you are being realistic. Most likely you recognized these differences early in your relationship, but fell in love anyways.

Remember that you are not raising a clone, you are raising an individual. Appreciate the differences between you and your child, and enjoy watching your young child grow into a real person, with their own opinions, their own interests, and their own personality traits. To me, that is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a parent.

Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t mind if you share this secret with other parents. Just don’t share it with your kids. They deserve to be loved, and liked, by us just the way they are. They don’t need to change; they just need to be themselves. Because they are perfect just the way they are.

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