Growing up we were exposed to the myths that our parents passed on from their parents. Warnings like,
If you swallow your gum it will sit in your stomach for seven years.
Going outside with wet hair will cause you to get a cold, or
Don’t go swimming after eating or you will get stomach cramps
are just a few. Such myths can get parents into trouble raising today’s children if they adopt these myths as truth. You may ask yourself, what is the motive behind using such statements with children? Is it just that since it was what your parents told you, it must be true? Time to check your facts. If you don’t, you be sure your kids will.
What parents do need to know, is that kids are smarter than they often get credit for. There isn’t anything to be gained by trying to fool children by repeating these myths that have been passed on for generations. If parents want to build deeper bonds with their children, they will stop saying things that aren’t true and begin to ask them questions to discover what the child does know and what their view is on certain subjects. A question like, “What do you think happens to your body when you swallow gum?” “What is a cold and how do you get one?” and “What are the benefits of knowing how to swim?”
Lies are those statements that parents use that they believe are true, which just aren't. Statements like,
It was good enough for me, so it is good enough for my children,
Treat each child the same, and
It is a parent’s job to make their child happy.
These and many more are simply not true. And to believe that they are denies your child their own uniqueness and free will to choose whether to be happy or not. A parent who spends their time, energy and finances in the hopes of making their child happy has most likely not found their own source of happiness within. What if the role of a parent is to help their child discover the choice of being happy without depending on others to make them happy.
If a parent lives by the “It was good enough for me, so it is good enough for my children,” theory, they are missing out on the uniqueness of their child. It does not allow for any differences between parent and child that need to be addressed. It limits exploring new possibilities that support the child in today’s world.
And finally, good luck with trying to treat each child equally. Such an attitude sets the child up for disappointment as he learns that the world is not going to treat him just like everyone else in all matters. What if the parent’s role is more about helping each of their children identify what their needs are, be in allowance that each child is different and that by giving each child what is needed is how we treat each other fairly, without judgment. Imagine how differently you treat your children when one becomes ill or special attention for whatever reason. If a parent isn’t attached to having to treat each child the same, then the children learn to not expect it and to honor differences.
Fantasies are ideas without any basis in reality. They are built out of hopes and dreams of what life could be like. Some of the fantasies that parents have about children may be:
Having a child will create a happy family.
A child will make me happy.
My child will share my interests. My child will grow up to become…
It is a heavy burden that is placed on these children. Expectations that they are supposed to meet. And what happens to the parent/child relationship when the fantasy doesn’t happen? Does the parent express their disappointment to their child? How does a child deal with that? Where does the child get to choose the way in which they want to live? These fantasies are based on the child having to meet the parent’s needs, rather than being given the support and encouragement to discover and experience their own.
Myths, lies and fantasies are still very alive in families throughout the world. Parents today need to be aware of any that they may be raising their children by and begin to look for different options that allow both parent and child to live in the world of possibility, allowance and creativity. This can begin by asking more questions.
Share below- What myths, lies or fantasies do you see affecting families today?