Parenting: How Far Does Responsibility Go?
Parenting: where does the responsibility end?
I want to share an interesting situation with my reader’s permission,
I want to know what you think:
A family has three kids. They have a very certain, rigid way of doing things. The oldest son views the world quite different. The parents are unwavering: it’s their way or no way, so when the first opportunity comes he flies out of the nest and tries to build his own life. He struggles but succeeds, meets his wife(who the family doesn’t particularly like), they start a family, and... just like everyone else, they start to face life with its own challenges.
The moment those challenges come, though, the man’s family starts to rub in that ALL his/their problems are because of the CHOICES HE MADE, and the sooner he drops his “stupid ideas” the sooner his life will become calm and normal.
So, the guy bends to the pressure, drops his dream path and starts a “stable, normal” way of living. Fast-forward 12 years. Things did not turn out to be as rosy as the parents predicted to the guy. The stable path ended up being quite shaky, he lost the job and struggled with finding a different employment. The family dragged across country to the middle of nowhere for a position that wasn’t truly worth it, neither financially nor as a personal fulfillment.
It has taken a huge toll on the family, as kids took moving really hard, the wife hated the new place too, and the man was not happy with any of it either yet there wasn’t really a choice.
The situation also created a lot of resentment and bitterness between him and his parents. He thinks that it’s their fault for not supporting his ambition and his fault for bending to their wish. They think EVERYTHING bad that is happening in his life is 100% his fault because HE didn’t listen to them right away, so... they kind of stepped away and told him to deal with his own issues, because ... he has created them.
What do you think? Who is at fault here? What patents’ responsibilities were and are here? And what would you suggest to this family? The wife is a reader.
I shared that story on Instagram a few days ago and the feedback that I received was quite remarkable. The opinions on the story split in a million ways. A lot of judgement. A lot.
Surprisingly. (to me).
I want to highlight that none of the questions asked “who is to blame?”. The questions I asked were “what do you think?”, “who is at fault?”, if anyone, with an intention of analyzing the situation that we ALL can learn something from and apply to our lives to avoid our own slip-ups in the future. Learning through someone else’s mistakes is the best way of learning, always have been, always will be. But it is only possible if the judgement is not present. No need to judge. I am sure every one of us has a million things others can judge us for.
My and my husband’s opinions are similar with slight differences. All and all, I think that we, as parents, are always responsible for the outcomes of our children’s lives. 100%. First and foremost, our responsibility as parents is not to set kids on the path WE think is best, but to help our children find themselves and then to concentrate on providing them with all tools possible for success.
To all those who judged the man for “not having his own head”, think again. The fact that he had listened to his parents is an honorable thing of respect, something we ALL would want our kids to have. The issue with this situation is that the parents have abused that quality, they shouldn’t have insisted.
The outcome here, in my opinion, is 100% parents’ fault, but the problem is, the man and HIS family are the ones who have to deal with it now, which brings me back to the point I always say: we ALL need to take responsibility for our actions. Think a million times before we do or say something, as the effects can, sometimes, be irreversible and damaging. The core is not in being fearful of saying or doing something, but in being conscious, aware and responsible for all we do. No need to worry about being too perfect - we never will be, we are human, but we can be better humans if we try.
There were lots of seemingly easy suggestions of how to fix the situation that, in reality, are not that easy to executed. Do you want to break this topic down a little more in a different post?