Guilt and the Unsuccessful Child

Guilt and the Unsuccessful Child

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Expert Author Susan Leigh
Many parents have aspirations for their child. Often as soon as they are born they fantasize about their child becoming an astronaut, a doctor, a world-class footballer. Over time these hopes and dreams can become modified into simply wanting the child to be happy and healthy, but none the less, there is often the desire for the child to achieve something special and make its parents and family proud.
Difficulties can start to arise when a child from an academic family is found to be not academic or has more of an artistic disposition. The child can start to feel a failure, a disappointment to the family, the black sheep. Similarly, a child who is more interested in books and reading can struggle in an athletic, sporty family, or with people who are creative, artistic and very active. Reconciling ourselves to our child's individuality and aspirations can take time, restraint and patience.
Understanding that a child who is different to us is not unsuccessful can require some sensitivity and understanding. Otherwise the child can become frustrated, lose its confidence and direction in life. We have to nurture our child's potential and even if it is not a superstar it can still be our superstar. We do not have to feel guilty. Our child is not a failure, It simply has interests in other areas to ours.
Sometimes a child may carry the hopes and dreams of their entire family. Everyone may have saved their money, worked hard to finance its opportunity to continue in further education. Or there may be a family business whose success has been motivated by the desire to build something that can be passed onto the child. It can be distressing for everyone if the child is not interested in following along that path. Supporting it in following its own chosen direction requires unconditional love and support.
As the child grows and becomes a young adult partners can become another area of conflict. A child under pressure often rebels in order to prove its independence. Finding a partner who provides our child with love, acceptance and support should be the most important goal for our child's future happiness and contentment. Guiding and steering our child towards who we like as a potential partner may seem like a good idea but rarely works. Adults see the pitfalls in wrong partners but young people often feel that love will suffice. They have to learn from experience, just as others before them.
Sexuality can cause distress is families. Having a child who is gay, bi-sexual, confused can cause shame and distress to the child before they summon the courage to reveal their situation to the family. Sometimes the family already knew or suspected this news. But whether or not, it is important to remember that the child did not choose to be this way. They may accept it but it is not something they chose. The family need to be supportive and ensure that the child does not feel like a failure. They are still the same person that they have always been.
Children are sensitive souls who look to the people in their world for recognition, acceptance, love and support. They absorb all that they come into contact with and this can define their way of valuing themselves and others. Adults and parents have a responsibility to accept and encourage children to become confident and optimistic about themselves and their role in the world. Success can be evidenced in many different ways.

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