20 January 2006

Accept them as they are

Heartbreaking story about parental hopes and acceptance on Dr. Steven Parker's blog at WebMD. He tells of a young man who, when he was 14, was banished by his parents because he was gay.

Dr. P goes on:

As some of you know, I have long counseled that it is your job as a parent to discover - not invent - your child. But what if the human you discover is antithetical to your hopes, your dreams, your strongly held convictions of how a child should be?

I'm convinced that a lot of short and long term parent-child grief emanates from parents who can not accept who and what their child is: not smart enough... not good-looking...too active...too shy...too intense...too laid back...developmental challenges...

Go ahead and add your own pet peeve to the list. Most parents have at least a few. Nature often trumps nurture, and many parents become frustrated and angry at their inability to change unappreciated characteristics of their child.

He then poses this question at the end of his post: how can you as a parent best handle it when your child has certain traits that just don't fit into your image of the perfect child? When the child you love isn't always the child you like?

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Saying how I'd handle it may be much different than how I actually react when I am presented with it.

However, my child will always be my child and no matter how old he is, it is my responsibility to support and nurture him anyway I can. That is, I won't necessarily support illegal or unethical behavior but I can be there for him when karma brings things right.

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