When you make the decision to have kids, it comes from a deep want in your heart and you typically raise them according to your own values and beliefs. You try to teach them right from wrong. This is vitally important when they are babies to the time they are twelve or thirteen. Then there is a shift. It is part of your children’s process to become independent thinkers that forces them to question everything. Everything you are, everything you tell them, everything you want them to be. It is incredibly arrogant that as parents we think we can control who they are and who they become. In reality, each person is so individual, even though we are grouped together in families. We are here having a solitary experience on an earth filled with people. Ultimately our job is to figure out ourselves, our place in the world, and to figure out how to use our gifts here.
Most of my life I have spent too much time thinking about other people, letting them influence my emotions and my day-to-day life. Instead of turning inward and embracing my natural self and accepting who I am fully, I was caught up in helping and pleasing and taking care of other fully capable human beings. As I started to see where things were going wrong, I started to notice patterns, bad patterns that must be broken if I am to have a chance at happiness at all.
After my divorce I tightly controlled my kids’ worlds out of fear. I was afraid of so many things. I was afraid of losing time, of them not getting what they needed from me, of how things would go when they were with their father, and this put me on a tough path since most of these things were not in my control.
My kids are very unique and different people. They are artistic savants in many ways, but the world has been taught not to value that. I am having to learn to step back and let them move with freedom into who they really are at their core, because I don’t want them to have a mid life crisis at all. I want them to have an easier go than I had.
This has not been an easy process. I had to let go of the desire for my son to go to college for free for a year, because he made the choice that he was done with school and didn’t want to do it. Did this scare me? YES! But it is not up to me. I could force him to go to school and barely pass, even fail because he hates it so much. Or I could let him make the decision and then also face the consequences of that decision. Good or bad.
Control always backfires because it comes from a bad place. It comes from our desire to impress our will on other human beings. Control doesn’t allow for freedom. It doesn’t accept things that go against our own values. It creates friction and distance and stress. The results are always only temporary. Everything has a natural state it reverts to, people are no different.
I had the hardest time accepting this truth with my son. I was raised in a very ridgid catholic house with lots of rules and hard work and guilt. We were steeped in it as kids. When things were getting difficult with my son, my response was to reign him in, control him more, squeeze the defiance out of him and that backfired in ways I never saw coming. For three years we engaged in a long dance of control and independence. I have recently and finally come to the realization that he is who he is. His love for music, his risk taking and try anything once attitude, his self destructive habits, his desperate want for his own independence have usually been at the polar opposite of my will to control him because I think I know what is best for him.
I have life experience and all the other fake things that instill confidence. I know better than he does what he should be doing in his life. The thing I never grasped until recently is that I only have experience living the life I was born to live, so my experience doesn’t always (or usually ever) translate into his. He is desperate to live his own life, on his own terms, and I have to let that happen or live in a self imposed prison of fear and anger. I’ve stayed there already, the view is terrible and the coffee is bad.
Now I see that there is very little I can do to change him and my actions to do that will always be fought tooth and nail. He will not be controlled. So the answer is to step back and relax the reigns and let him chose his own path. Make his own mistakes and learn from them and eventually find his own path to joy and to live his own authentic life.
Turning your kids into robots who say what you want them to say and do what you want them to do will work for awhile but eventually they will course correct. It will be the decision to leave the cushy corporate job with the amazing fringe bennies to open up a bakery by the beach. At some point all the brainwashing you have committed to serving will stop working and your kids will start their own journey to become their authentic self. As their parents we may not agree with them, we may want something else, but their journey is not our journey. To let go of what you want and to allow them to truly be who they are, that is the clearest, healthiest path and as parents we ultimately want our kids to be happy, don’t we?
Think of all the time and money you will save them avoiding future therapy if you let go and let them become themselves. It will scare the hell out of you, because we are wired to protect and the conflict will nearly kill you. Really you are saving their future identity crisis from happening. You are teaching them that whoever they are is ok, that they can be the person they want to be, that they were made to be, without all the preconceived dreams and wants you brought to the table. The world is desperate to receive the gifts your children were created to deliver. It is our job to get out of the way and to let it unfold.
PS. If you love these blog posts, help me keep the lights on and Doritos in the pantry for my teenager, by checking out one of my books below. There's something for everyone. "Velvet Guild" is naughty and explicit. (Erotic Romance), "Scotland with a Stranger" is a memoir of my trip to Scotland last May and "AnaStasia" is a parallel lives story (Women's Fiction)
Friends Don't Let Friends Stay Vanilla
Desperate times…call for sexy solutions.
Aimee is panicking, feeling like a middle-aged failure, barely scraping by, raising a teenager alone. She is also a submissive who yearns to be dominated in the bedroom.
Could she introduce couples to the BDSM lifestyle through a house party format? Instead of game night, it could be blindfolds and bite marks.
Scotland with a Stranger:A Memoir
“Who goes to Scotland for two weeks with a stranger they met over the internet? I did.”
At forty-three, Ninya was depressed, out of shape, and filled with crippling anxiety after addiction, cancer, and divorce had destroyed nearly everything. One day, she received a message from a stranger. This woman offered to lead her on a self-healing trip hiking through the Scottish highlands.
It seemed like a sign.
This is the story of one life, lived two different ways.
In one reality, “Stasia” is the beloved daughter of doting parents who spare no expense in supporting her ambition and talent. Adoring not just their daughter but also one another, their home is full of celebration, warmth and love.
In another reality, “Ana” washes dishes at a nursing home to buy her carefully-budgeted art supplies, waiting until her alcoholic father passes out before creeping downstairs to paint. Ana must survive her father’s nightly verbal abuse without any help from her silent, cowed mother, until she can retreat to the only place she feels safe, in front of her easel.