Childhood lost opportunities turn into living your dreams.
When we fail at opportunities as kids, we tend to want to live those lost opportunities through our kids. How many kids do things today because of their parents? They take music lessons, play a sport, or enroll in a specific class or curriculum, not because they want to. They do it because it is what the parent wants. How many do it because it’s what they really want to do? How many of them are doing it because it’s what mom or dad wants?
I can name parent after parent who insisted on piano lessons, baseball, or medical school for their child. The reason is that they never had that opportunity as a child, or there wasn’t time for the sport, or scholarship for the school. So, when the lost-out kid becomes an adult, he purposes to make sure his kids don’t miss out on what he lost. Even when it’s not an interest of the child, the parent forces his desires on the child. He lives vicariously through his child. Sometimes children are forced to go to college or not allowed to go because of the parents’ own experiences.
Vicarious living is living your dreams through the experiences of others. A mother who always wanted to be a dancer pushes her child to take ballet. A father who had to work on the farm instead of playing sports signs his kid up for T-ball or little league because that’s what he always wanted to do. The parent experiences in imagination through the experiences and actions of his child. Many times it matters little to the parent if the child enjoys the experience or not.
Vicarious living is experiencing something indirectly. There is no actual fulfillment; even though in the moment, the parent feels pride and exhilaration. Even though his child gets to do something he did not, the parent still loses.
Another definition of vicarious is “performed, exercised, received, or suffered in place of another.” We force our children to become robots of our whims and desires. We should allow them to make their own choices.
Healthy parenting encourages your child to discover his own interests, hobbies, and passions instead of living your dreams for you. The child is encouraged to try different interests, but is not forced into a particular hobby or passion. The parent allows the child to develop on his own without trying to influence him to like or dislike a particular passion.
Our children need to learn that embarking in something means dedication and commitment. They cannot just drop out on a whim when things don’t suit them. Once the child has agreed to sign up for a particular course of action on his own, he needs to develop fortitude to see it through, even when he discovers it is not what he likes.
Healthy parenting allows a child to become who he truly is and encourages him to develop his full potential. Healthy parenting cheers, provides, and protects so a child can live his own dreams and not the dreams of his parent.