I LOVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT
Happy New Year to you parents out there! “New year, new you” news reports, podcasts, blogs and exercise and food plans are everywhere! There’s no more magic on January 1st than there is on January 15 people, so relax, and don’t call yourself a failure just because you didn’t start your “new you” plan yet. Today, I want to talk about insecurities. You have them and so does your child. How do both affect how you parent? Let me give you a couple examples.
My daughter Nadia made the volleyball team in 7th and 8th grade. No matter how hard she worked in practice or how well she played, she was put on the second string team. She was going to be in the high school the following year and there was no guarantee that she would make the team her freshman year because they don’t keep as many girls. I suggested she tryout for a travel team to improve her skills. She came up with all kinds of reasons why that wasn’t going to happen. Insecurity after insecurity came pouring out of her. “I’m probably not good enough.” “I won’t know anyone.” “I don’t think I can do that and do my homework too.” “I don’t have a very hard serve.” She really wanted to be on the team the next year, but her insecurities had her believing that even a whole season on a travel team wasn’t going to help her. That is when I decided for my child. I told her, “after all we have talked through and knowing you really love volleyball I am going to make you go to the tryout, you can then make a more informed choice once you’ve tried.” We went to the tryout and 20 minutes into the tryout she looked over at me with this big ‘ol grin on her face and she flashed me a thumbs up! She made the team and played with and made new friends. It was so much fun to see her overcome her insecurities and go after her dream to play in high school. All because I pushed her past her insecurities. She improved not only in her skills but also in her confidence. She went on to play volleyball all four years of high school. That was such a teachable moment, pushing her and making her try out. As parents you need to give your time and attention, be good listeners, honor and hone their talents, and offer guidance and support to ward off insecurities. Ultimately, you want to give responsibility to your child with as many things as possible all the while reminding them that no matter the outcome of something you love them no matter what! That unconditional love will help them to be brave enough to face their giants.
Now tables can turn and YOUR insecurities may get in the way of your child’s growth and learning. For example, Nadia tried band in 5th grade and didn’t like it. The summer before her freshman year in high school her big sister was at band camp and called me. “Mom, send Nadia to the school, we need more people on the drum line!” Now, first off, Nadia is not blessed with musical prowess like her big sister. She didn’t even like band. She didn’t know how to read music, and she’s my Oopsy-Daisy! You really think she can carry a drum and march and beat on it all at the same time? She has volleyball and she has to study extra hard for school to keep up. Hmmmmmm…..now who is listing all the insecurities. Me! Maria begged me to ask her if she wanted to come. I told her I’d call her as soon as I could talk it through with Nadia, but don’t count on it because I didn’t think it was something Nadia would even want to do. I hung up and went to Nadia’s bedroom to TELL her I thought it was crazy that Maria wanted her to go to band camp and be on the drum-
line. My jaw hit the floor when Nadia responded, “That sounds fun! What do I wear for camp and can you take me right now!” I had to hold back all the previous insecurities I had conjured up about Nadia being on the drum-line. I had to let her see for herself. I have always told my kids that they can do anything they put their minds to. Why would I hold her back from trying something new. 4 years on drum-line, one year with cymbals, two years on base drum (which was a hoot to watch her 5’1” frame carry around), and her senior year she worked all summer long to earn marching with a snare drum. Boy, am I glad I didn’t hold her back all because I thought I knew what was best for Nadia.
Parenting with boundaries, with good guidance, with praise and unconditional love will help your child work through insecurities and help raise a confident adult. Our job as parents is not to make every decision for our children, but to help them to learn to make good decisions for themselves so that they can thrive as adults. Help your child find independence and show them that they are the owners of their journey through life and that you are there when they fall with a big hug. Don’t ever go a day without telling your kids, “I love you no matter what!”