This is a thought-expression that comes to me from my mother.
I see myself “saying” the same thing to my daughter… and this makes me wonder if I am doing the right thing.
I often felt put down by my mother when she told me she was unhappy with me. It may have been something I had done or an overall attitude she didn’t like. I felt criticized. I felt like she expected me to be better than I was being. She knew I could do better, I was capable of it. I was disappointing her.
I’m talking about when I was passed my teens… at an age when I could understand what was right or wrong, when I was trying to identify what was right or wrong for me.
I knew we were very different, both as a result of cultural and generational gaps. I could never be like her and I didn’t want to be a photocopy of her. I was ME after all. It felt like since we were so different, she would never be happy with my way of being me.
Looking back now, I may have made her criticism of me more than it was. What may have started as ”she wants what’s best for me”, may have snowballed into “I’ll never be good enough”. I had my individuality and yet, her words affected me so much.
Obviously, I don’t want to affect my daughter in the same way. I realize the impact criticism had on me, therefore I want to make sure I instead have the desired positive influence on my daughter, namely for her to act according to proper values, with respect of herself, of those around her and of her environment.
As a parent, I still have my role as the person who will instill discipline and set ground rules. I can decide to criticize with regards to behaviors that I think go against core values, if I see that this is required. But I have to know my boundaries too.
What she chooses for herself may be different than what I decided or would have decided for myself. In essence, what is right for me may not be right for her and that’s just fine. I DO want what is best for her. I want her to be Happy.