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Friday, May 4, 2012

6 Mother's Day Gifts To Give Your Children

It may be the best gifts for your family this Mother's Day are given by Mom.

  1. Room To Breathe and Grow. It's been our job to protect them with baby gates and bicycle helmets. During the teen years, words became our safety tools as we set boundaries and explained consequences. They become adults and the consequences are more serious. We panick that we haven't dispensed wisdom to fit every situation. We offer unsolicited advice in every conversation. There's no air in the room as we press our suggestions onto their lives. Wisdom is born of trial and error. A lecture isn't a shortcut. Your daughter needs to try it her way, sometimes making mistakes. It's the only way for her to experience growth of her own.

  2. A Mom Without A God Complex. My mother once told me, “Your children have a higher power and it isn't you!” During their childhoods, we bandage boo boos, feed hungry bellies, and buy new shoes when they ruin theirs in mud. This cannot continue throughout their adult lives. We can't fix everything, nor can we absorb the pain of a car repair bill, a kid with the flu or the boss laying them off. Learning to roll with the punches reveals that normal trials and difficulties aren't injustices. If you're losing sleep because your son is overwhelmed, you've crossed a line. You believe you're responsible for how everything impacts him. Chances are you've passed this misconception on and he believes it's your fault when he's miserable.

  3. An Example. Do you want your daughter to value her unique abilities? Respect and develop your own. Do you want your son to respect women? Maintain healthy boundaries with the men in your life. Do you want your children to be authentic and avoid the manipulation of codependent relationships? Take inventory of your own mental health with the help of a competent counselor. If your family has a common unhealthy habit, seeking advice from one another is rarely going to produce a revelation. Obtain the tools necessary to live a healthy life instead of sinking comfortably into family-wide dysfunction. Learn to live healthy, so they have an example to follow.

  4. Freedom From Manipulation. Guilt and shame are often used to get a desired response from adult children. You may be able to guilt trip your son into dragging his family to weekly Sunday dinners, or doing holidays your way. The result will be resentment. It may be spoken, or it may fester quietly within him, and his wife. Loosen your grip and allow him to make his own family traditions. Be open to conversations that lessen the pressure to do what you want. You may find him rediscovering the pleasure of your relationship instead of reconciling himself to constant obligation.

  5. Love the Spouse. Our kids aren't our clones. Your son knows the woman he fell in love with in ways you don't. Your daughter sees strengths in her husband you may never see. If you don't support your son's commitment to his wife and family, nothing good will come of it. You'll be a source of contention in the marriage, or you'll find yourself brokenhearted when your daughter-in-law doesn't trust you with the grandchildren. You taught your children to be loyal – don't make them choose between two people they love. This is especially important in an unhealthy relationship. Recognize when your advice begins alienating your child and back off! Ensure you will be there when she needs you to see her through a painful breakup.

  6. Humility. Motherhood is the most important job we'll ever have. You can't just quit and get new children. Your mistakes stay in your employee file, i.e., your child's memory. In this culture, we analyze our childhoods as never before. You try your best, make sacrifices for your children, and still find yourself being judged harshly. It hurts. We get defensive. Our apologies carry excuses or accusations of oversensitivity.

    We say, “I'm sorry I forgot to pick you up after soccer practice, but I was stressed out and had a lot on my mind.” Instead of, “I'm sorry I forgot to pick you up that day. I'm still embarrassed by that.” Be truthful; an insincere apology is easily seen through. Put your pride aside. It's another opportunity to set an example.

    A little forgiveness for your own mother wouldn't hurt either.

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