I have been in sort of a daze for the past week but on Saturday, something reminded me of a post I've had in draft for over a year.
It was a phone exchange after Gentleman Jack found that his son Carbon Copy (a straight A student), got a C progress report in school:
R: My worst fears about (CC) have been realized! Brought me a progress report with a "C" cause he hasn't been doing his assignments. Sometimes I really hate my life!!
T: Stop. Don't hate. It is HIS responsibility. Ask him how HE feels about this. If HE feels bad, then he will do something about it.
R: But he doesn't, baby. He has proven it over and over again. He would not have the great grades he has had it not been for (the ex) and I riding his ass!
I am scared to let him fail but know he needs to. I told him that earlier, not the scared part though. I feel like if he were to fail, he would hate it enough to never do it again.
T: You have to get to a point where you allow him responsibility of his failures. You cannot blame yourself for them.
You are providing him with love, guidance and support. He is a PERSON. He has a choice because he obviously has the brains but chooses otherwise not to work.
I don't blame you for wanting to protect him from failure. But sometimes we learn our most powerful lessons from those failures.
You can tell him that you're disappointed but then EMPOWER him. Let him know that he has the skills and he can do something with them. Tell him that it's up to him.
And when/if he fails, try to avoid the frustration. He'll feel worse. Just encourage him and let him know you believe in him.
Maybe you should sit and make a list of his positive traits so that you won't focus on this "failure". Then encourage those traits in him. What you focus on, grows.
You know, in a new relationship, you do whatever you can to please because the other person sees so much good in you, right? But if that other person is always focused on your failures or disappointments, you give up trying, right? Our kids respond the same way.
We forget to keep that positive focus on them.
I think that we, as parents, forget that our children are people too. Instead we see them as extensions of ourselves... and therefore their failures as our own.
On Saturday, I came to the realization that if we see our children as extensions of us, then I wonder if we then treat our children's indiscretions the way we would treat ourselves?
I've witnessed Gentleman Jack being this frustrated and hard on himself when he "fails" at something. I've done it too. It is when I feel this way that I am the hardest on my daughters as well.
When I treat myself with gentleness, lightness and understanding, I also act more loving with my children.
Maybe it IS true after all. Maybe the old oxygen mask analogy is true.
If we can take care of ourselves, be loving to ourselves, we will be that to those we love as well.