Adult Parenting – Parent or Your Surroundings: Who influences your personality more?
Sometimes I fail to recollect, which buddy’s handwriting in school I copied last! That’s weird, but yes, I did it in a desperate effort to change the look and feel of my school copies! I felt this to be entertaining as well as helping me to muster some zeal for my studies…
We, humans, are natural ‘copiers’…
This little anecdote above was only to let you know a bit of my nature as a school-going kid. I still enjoy reminiscing those days! Over the years, as I grew up, I realized that we ‘copy’ a lot from our surroundings. To put it the other way round, our surroundings have an immense impact and influence on ourselves! On that note, you are certainly reminded of the famous lines –
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”
– Jim Rohn.
In my opinion and experience over the years, the saying above must transform, to say that the individual is also an average of ‘the five books he read last’ or ‘the movies he last watched’! Communicating, socializing, reading, upgrading your intellectual being – all have commendable impacts upon us. They all upgrade both your personality and psyche.
While I write, there is one instance that I can recall. It was my first job and I was almost on the verge of quitting. It needs to be mentioned hereby that overall, I am a positive person. I prefer to look at and hope for the brighter side of things. But there was this one time when I failed to take the right decision and be in the right company! From the very nascent days in this job, I became close with a woman who was ever complaining, be it her personal or professional life.
On the professional front, things took a bad turn. She had a scuffle with the management, and I being very close to her, began to hate being in the office too. When she suddenly resigned one day (without letting me know about it before) I was taken aback, a little disappointed and humiliated too.
But strangely, things calmed down to normal from the next day onwards. Traveling to and back from office, spending lunchtime in the canteen with a bunch of other colleagues, sometimes hanging out with them to a nearby shopping mall or coffee shop – all seemed great fun!
That incident happens to be an important landmark in my life – I decided never to be in the wrong company ever again. When I say ‘company’, I do not mean to pin-point at your human connections only; it could be the movies that you watch, the books that you choose to read, or whatever decision you’re taking for yourself.
Adult Parenting: Parents can only advise & not dictate
We are indeed more influenced by the ‘other factors’…
“A man is known by the company he keeps” – mom kept saying this again and again during those good old school days. When I left home for college, she used to repeat it several times over the phone too.
She somehow knew that all the motivation to work hard, all the positivity, all the love for your job, and your life at large came from your surroundings and only your surroundings! Her words were magical; I topped college in the year 2011 with my best friend too coming out of those majestic college gates with the silver medal around her neck!
Since we are great ‘copiers’ as humans, it is both safe and advisable to make the choices in your life carefully. The power to make the ‘right choices’ needs to be built early during the foundation years of one’s life. Once grown up, your offspring’s choices cannot be dictated or controlled. At most, you can advise them which they may or may not accept!
But you, as a parent of an adult, need to accept whichever comes your way. Adult parenting, is, therefore, rather difficult – it demands you to be extra cautious as to whether your treatment towards your child hurts them or positively impacts his or her sentiments. When I say ‘child’ it is only for you as a parent, not the world outside. So, you need to keep hammering this to your brain repetitively – ‘he or she is no longer a child’…
As many philosophers have put it this way – “your children do not belong to you like any other property you own” – you, as a parent, need to accept this happily. As a mother or a father, while giving birth to your child, hardly did you realize that you were signing up for so much! As tears and laughter rolled in and rolled out over the years, not only did your child grow up but you too. You grew up to realize that they have grown up; so they need space, they need privacy, and most of all they need your respect as well as unconditional love…
A summary of all that I wanted to convey about Adult parenting here…
Adult parenting is, therefore, all about learning to set boundaries and learning to both accept and enjoy the fact that your kid has grown up to be an adult. Don’t you enjoy your freedom? Don’t you relish the choices that you make and the decisions that you take in your life? So, why can’t your kids do the same? Why can’t they have a share of the cake called LIFE? And even if they are wrong, don’t you think “your” harsh words can inflict pain which will go down much deeper?
If your child is worried about his/her career choice, instead of pushing towards your ideal options, ask them to take the online aptitude test for career guidance which is a scientific assessment tool based on personality traits, interests, aptitude areas, and IQ level.
As the parent of an adult, if your behavior hurts the relationship with your child, you will no longer be in a position to communicate, let alone, bossing them! So, the best way to keep them at your side is to let them fly! Let the bird out of the nest, it will surely fly back home when the sun sets at dawn. Your decisions, rather suggestions are valuable, but of course, only when they are asked for. Hence, to be on the safer side, try practicing these…
- Give a call or a heads up before coming over. Yes, this is crucial. Don’t just pop in anytime only because you are in the same town! Let them know before you turn up and give them some time to be prepared.
- Don’t give unsolicited advice. If you are on friendly terms, they will automatically ask for some help from you. But don’t just barge in with ‘orders’ (instead of advice) if you really want your words to be valued.
- Be honest and be transparent – If you are not allowing something, say a loan or a certain payment, be firm. If you are allowing it, state the terms clearly and let them know that you’ll be strict with the matter.
- Don’t let them be in a dilemma – During Christmas or any occasion, if your child could not be with you at home this time, be cheerful. Don’t make them feel it’s an obligation but they just have to choose between you and some other plan! Let them be free to make choices.
So, you’ve got my point by now. Adult parenting is not simply a set of rules that can be jotted down in a piece of writing or read aloud in lecture sessions. As I already said, it’s just an important realization and once you have realized it, you can implement it as and when needed.
Happy Parenting (Don’t just miss out on the syllable ‘adult’)!