Your children are not your children
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts...
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday
- Kahlil Gibran
This is so true. Our children are gifts to us, and we need to treat them as such.
In the epilogue of Barbara Coloroso's book, Kids are Worth it, she writes a letter to parents...here are some bits and pieces...
After you have been caring, and consistent...firm and fair...you've said what you meant and meant what you said and did what you said you were going to do...you've eliminated sarcasm, ridicule, and embarrassment from your talk with your kids...and you have developed a backbone structure around mealtime, bedtime, chores, allowances, fighting - and you are totally exhausted, there is one more thing you can do. After your kids are asleep this evening, walk into their bedroom, look down at each one of them, and remind yourself that there is one thing you can I as parents cannot do, nor do we want to do if we really think about it, and that's control our children's will - that spirit that lets them be themselves apart from you and me. They are not ours to possess, control, manipulate, or even to make mind...we need to encourage members of this next generation to become all that they can become, not try to force them to become what we want them to become...If you want your kids to make wise choices, give them opportunity to make lots of choices, including some unwise ones...when they fall, don't be standing in front of them to rescue, or over them to punish, be behind them to support and guide them...
If you are a parent, you have to read this book. It changed my life, and the way I think about my children. It has helped to get rid of anger in our home (and in myself), and has given me motivation to raise resilient, responsible, compassionate kids.