A friend of mine gave us this adorable little lumberjack outfit as a gift for the birth of our child. It’s probably going to be a year or so before he fits into it, but he is going to look so cute when he is wearing it. In my mind I was picture how handsome he is going to look and then all of a sudden I was thinking how adorable he would look in all sorts of outfits. He’s such a beautiful baby. I wouldn’t be surprised if professionals wanted to take his picture. He’d become a baby model. Then I started picturing him as this little toddler, hair-styled, posing for pictures in magazines and advertisements. The world confirming how beautiful my child is, and me feeling good the whole way. Then I started imagining become all self-centered and narcissistic about his looks and this horrible teenage model who all the other kids hated, and I was the cause of it all. Then all of a sudden the metaphorical sound of a record scratching occurred in my head, and I was like “Whoa, where did that come from?”
For a second I got inside the mind of those crazy parents who rear their children to be in beauty contests, or TV children from the outset. Maybe in some ways that was a good thing as I always like to try to understand people, even where what seem like a ridiculous and foreign notion comes from. Then there it was, popping into my head though I was diametrically opposed to such practices before having a kid. Well I still am, but I think I saw the beginning of the reasoning. Love is a strange thing. If you’ve fallen in love before, you know that you sort of just expect everyone else that you know to love that person too. Maybe the love I feel for my son is making me want others to love him just is much, which neither practical or realistic. But that is probably a more innocent explanation. Individuality takes time to develop in a new life. Somewhere around 6 months a baby will realize that it is a separate being from the mother. They learn individuality from watching their parents of course, so even individuality is something that is learned through others. In the time before they see themselves as extensions of their mother. I pondered that perhaps the relationship works both ways. It’s something that I have noted before having a child perhaps, but didn’t really understand. How long does it take parents to not see children as an extension of themselves? For some parents it seems to never end. As a professor I have had to deal with many parents who will not let their child make a decision for themselves even though they are college aged. It is clear to me that the mother who enters who daughter into beauty pageants from the age of a toddler is clearly not respecting the individuality of the child as is doing it for themselves. Parents who force their kids into one profession or another also are projecting their wishes on their child. So I thank those unhealthy thoughts for putting what I knew in my subconscious into my conscious that I better always remember to respect the individuality of my child. I still can’t wait to see him in that lumberjack outfit though. 🙂
2 thoughts on “Unhealthy thoughts”
How long does it take parents to not see children as an extension of themselves?
As you pointed out with some of your students’ parents, it varies, but at the stage my kids are in, I am starting to not see them that way anymore. Much of the reason that I wanted to stop indoctrinating them into religion was that they have their own minds and I want them to use them!
I’ll bet the lumberjack outfit is just adorable, too:)
Haha…thank you for the comment! I agree that getting kids to try to reason for themselves is very important. Especially when it comes to things that are going to impact your entire worldview like spirituality. My dad was pretty strict about us not becoming religious until we were 18, because he felt that it was an adult decision to make and that the time before should be spent exploring. 🙂