As parents, I think we can all agree that we have limited power over our kids. Sure, we can obviously teach them and hand out consequences and discipline them, but that’ll only take us so far. The one thing that we, as moms and dads, don’t have the power to do, in spite of all the authority we do have as parents, is save our kids from themselves. From the agony they put themselves through day in and day out.
And what I mean by that is simple. See, most of the time, our kids are their own worst enemy. Regardless of how often we try to give them the benefit of our experiences and our failures and our knowledge, they almost always insist that we have no idea what we’re talking about. That the stuff we went through as kids is nothing whatsoever like what their generation is going through today. Ironic that every generation feels that way, isn’t it?
That’s why I wish that we had the actual power to see the future so we could prove to our kids, once and for all, that the crisis they’re in with their friends will resolve or that the pain they’re feeling will subside or that the hard work they put in throughout high school will benefit them in the end.
I mean think about it, having the ability to prove to our kids that our advice can actually benefit them or, better still, that we really do know what we’re talking about, could be a game changer. In fact, it could be the single greatest weapon to help us fight the fight against our kids’ number one, worst archenemy: Themselves.
Since my girls hit puberty, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to explain to them, in simple, easy-to-follow English, that whatever crisis they were dealing with was not, in fact, the actual end of the world. That whatever fight they were in with a friend would ultimately be settled. That the horrifying looking pimple on their nose would eventually fade away. Or, that sooner or later, what goes around does generally come around.
If only we had the power to prove to them that we knew, for sure, that they’ll survive middle school and high school and beyond. That friends will come and go and come back again. That they won’t always be sitting by themselves in the cafeteria at lunch. That yes, they actually can make new friends after middle school. Or that they will, most definitely, figure out what they want to do with their lives.
I don’t know about you, but my kids aren’t buying it when I tell them that things almost always have a way of working out. And I could say it waving a stack of statistical data in their face that proves it, with Doctor Oz standing behind me giving the thumbs up, and they’d still shrug me off. I could bring in a panel of experts, buy them a book about it, read them an article, send in a dozen other parents to say the same thing, and they’d still think I didn’t know what I was talking about. But, say it with the bonafide, proven power of knowing what the future holds, et viola! Now I’m legit.
It’s unfortunate, though, that the parent-child relationship was designed with the genetic flaw that inhibits credibility with our kids, rendering whatever we say and however we say it useless. We’re constantly swimming upstream, against an unswimmable current, with a bowling ball chained to our ankle, in a perfect storm. And that’s exactly why I think that having this power could change everything. If we could finally prove to our kids that we’re right about most of the stuff we tell them, then we’d be able to defeat the insecure, immature child that lives inside them and controls most of their rational thoughts.
Can you just imagine? Then our kids would stop being their own worst enemy because they’d be forced to believe all the things we keep telling them. Then we could finally move on with our lives, instead of spending the majority of our time unsuccessfully trying to convince them that life has a way of working out. That tomorrow is always another day. That the grass is almost always greener on the other side of the fence. The clichés could finally end.
But, sadly, having psychic powers as parents is just a pipe dream. For all of us. Because as amazing as it sounds to have the power to accurately predict everything that happens to our kids so they can avoid the pitfalls of life, the reality is, we’re just not supposed to know. And that’s because we’re supposed to learn by trial and error and so are our kids.
And what that boils down to is this: Our kids have to learn, on their own, that climbing too high in the tree will probably result in them falling and hitting the ground kinda hard. And yeah, it’s gonna hurt. But at the end of the day, that’s one of the best life lessons any of them can learn.
Lisa Sugarman lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItIsWhatItIsColumn. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com and at select Whole Foods Market stores.