Ep 7: Critical Reasons for Raising Kids as Your Mini Me
Today’s episode discusses one of my basic philosophies about parenting. And that is: I believe parents should INITIALLY strive to create your mini me. Now before everyone gets upset and fires off a bunch of messages, please hear me out.
The importance of creating your mini me from an early age
When you give birth to babies, their brains are empty. Your job is to fill it with things. How can you fill it with things you don’t know or don’t believe? You can’t. So in raising your kids, you are teaching them the things that you think are right and wrong and things you think are important.
You may have learned them from your parents, or friends, or coworkers, or even from strangers. But whatever experiences you have had in life, they have helped you to become the person you are today. Your baby knows nothing, so you get the first crack and shaping them. Please take advantage of this opportunity.
The beauty of childhood is that kids are sponges that are absorbing everything around them. The good the bad and ugly. You want to be front and center sharing your thoughts and sharing experiences that highlight what you believe is good, just or simply what you believe is right. Everyone has their own belief system about what is right or wrong, so why not share yours with your kids?
The chance to create your mini me has a short time span
Once kids get older, they will have increased exposure to other people who will begin to impact and shape them. When you give them a good base of knowledge and a belief system, they will be better able to assess the new knowledge they learn over the course of their lives. They will then clearly make choices where you can see how they are moving away from the initial Mini Me that you created. You must let that happen.
Teaching kids your beliefs in one thing but teaching them to think and assess how their live those beliefs is entirely another issue. To not just blindly do things, to think about what their actions mean.
Most of our kids do not end up being just like us. The mini me will be gone. But as they grow and mature, you should still see the core that you instilled in them. We need to give them a good base and then let them grow and bloom into their own person.
When is it wrong to work on creating your mini me?
When people say you are “forcing your opinions” on young kids, I think this is not correct. Teaching kids what you know and believe is NOT forcing your opinions on them.
On the other hand, I think you have a limited time to instill in your kids your belief system. As kids mature and grow into young adults, they should already know what you think and taught them. They now have the right to reject it and choose another path. This can absolutely be heartbreaking but this is part of parenting.
Accept your children as they make decisions that feel right for them. We must love and support them despite this. Your mini me may become a distant memory but they should also have learned tolerance and acceptance from you. Even though they may now have a different belief system than you, they should still be able to accept yours and understand that you do not have to change to theirs.
You are not responsible for the choices your kids make when they get older
Parents, please remember that you already had your time to put your best foot forward and to teach them why you believe what you do. Hopefully, your mini me learned how to be a good, decent and fair person. If they later choose another path, it should not be viewed as a direct reflection on you. It is only a reflection of their desire to go another path.
Many things in their lives will lead to their changes. You cannot beat yourself up and wonder what you did wrong to make them choose another path. This is how we all find ourselves and choose our own paths.
I made a motto many years ago and have it posted on the sidebar of my website. And I stand by it.
Children are born who they are meant to be. Parents must raise them to be the best version of themselves that they can be.
None of us know the future for our kids. Successful? Famous? Antisocial? Average? Many factors weigh into the ultimate future our kids have, but you need to work REALLY hard to give them a jump start. I also always tell people that “parenting is hard”. Oh, goodness, that is true! At EVERY. SINGLE. STAGE.
As a parent, you need to decide what is important to you. I think parenting is an active sport. It can be exhausting and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. (I talked about this in more detail in a previous episode where I recommend that parents should not let kids win!) Are you even really a parent if you have not had a memorable “parenting fail”?
Creating your mini me should be a part of your parenting plan
To be successful in your career, you need to work hard and have a plan. The same holds true for raising kids. We are not all equally interested in the same things, so we do not focus on all areas equally.
What is important to you? Being empathetic and Kind to others? Having a sound religious background? Excelling in academics? Experiencing the beauty of the arts? How about athletics?
Just take a minute and think about what makes you tick? What do you love about life and love to see in others? Those are the things that stand out and that you should focus on instilling in your kids.
Kids will grow and develop their own passions which may or may not agree with what you initially taught them. Take time when kids are young to imprint them with your core values, and then set them free in the world to come into contact with other messages. They will choose yours, theirs or make a mixture of the two. Do not force them to keep yours.
Letting go of your mini me is extremely important
This can be a hard part of parenting. Learning when and how to let go. You should always be a rock, their rock, loving them despite different choices, but you always remind them who you are and that your beliefs are still the same. Having a constant strength in their parents allows kids to feel safe in venturing out into the world.
This situation is actually one of the reasons my kids left private school. I loved their school. They had great friends and were excelling academically. However, after I had done all I could to imprint on them, I realized the cozy, protective small private school was not allowing them to encounter enough diverse experiences to allow them to make their own choices. I needed them to not be protected so much by stringent school rules so they could learn to make the right choices when bad choices were readily available.
The real world awaits your child. I encourage every parent to create a plan to instill your values in your kids and not to simply adopt the attitude of letting them figure it out. That time will come in the future but you need to give them something to compare other options.
Now, go forth and work on creating your mini me! As your kids grow, the obvious mini me may be hidden, but it will make you smile as they grow into adults and you see that they have chosen to keep some of the things that you imprinted on them. That is a huge parenting win that will never get old.
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