Skills for the Road

Whether or not your family of origin had issues, here are two lists.  Notice if you are doing the first, be kind to yourself and run as fast as you can to list 2 and change your ways!!

DO NOT:  FORCE, IGNORE, SUPPRESS, TEASE, DISPARAGE the needs and dreams of others.

DO:  LISTEN WELL, COMFORT AND VALIDATE THE UNHAPPY, MEET LEGITIMATE NEEDS (provide a basketball for a kid playing basketball), HELP WHEN APPROPRIATE TO SOLVE A PROBLEM (school bullying needs adult intervention), ENCOURAGE PASSIONATE DESIRES (lessons, coaching with organic chemistry if you want to go to vet school but find the class daunting),  BE REALISTIC, all WITHOUT SHAMING (“You sure are costing me a fortune.”) or PUNISHMENT (“I got you that basketball but now we do not have money for you to go to the movies.”)

We all have our limitations.  We can be honest about that without somehow making the kid feel responsible (this also applies to other relationships with our spouses, or employees or whoever we are in relationship with) or guilty for a legitimate need or big dream.

When our daughter was going to college it was during an economic downturn.  My husband was our sole provider and he was part of his company’s leadership team.  They worked hard to not have to layoff anyone and this meant some pay cuts while the economy rebounded.  Our daughter wanted to study finance.  She considered out-of-state schools.  Her dad explained that we could pay for in-state tuition, but not out-of-state.  She could get loans for the difference but being a person who loved to study finance, and seeing as how we were alum of UVA and they had an excellent business school - she chose UVA.  Sometimes she was disappointed that she didn’t get to go somewhere adventurous and far away.  But as an adult, she understands.  Part of supporting big dreams is ALSO developing the capacity to be realistic.  

If no one ever did this for you, please do not beat yourself up if you have trouble doing it for others.  That’s ok, awareness is key.  If this is a problem for you, find someone who can mentor you so that you can move from the DO NOT list to the DO LIST.  It’s far more satisfying!