Family Matters
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Family Matters

PARENTING

Rather Than Try To Provide A Good Future For Your Children, Try Providing A Good Childhood For Them Instead

You can’t predict the future, but you can and should influence the present and past

Photo by Dimitri on Unsplash

As parents, we always want the best for our children, no matter what is it. We want to give them the best toys, we want to give them the best education, we want to buy them the best clothes, bring them on the best holidays, give them the best food to eat, etc.

We want to do all of that because we want them to have a good future. It’s also one of the reasons why as parents, we try our best, we work our hardest, and we give it our all.

But what if I told you that our aim for our children has been slightly misguided all this while?

What if I told you that the goal we should have, is not to focus on being able to provide a good future for them but instead, to provide them with a great childhood so that when they’re adults, they wouldn’t have had any traumatising experiences that may affect their futures negatively.

Allow me to elaborate further.

Have you ever been so fixated on something that has yet to happen that you lose sight of what is actually happening at that very moment? For example, you’re preparing for an important presentation that will happen in a week’s time.

You’re so into it that all you think about is something that will not happen for another 7 days. You don’t pay attention to what happens at that moment in time — the present.

That’s what can happen or that is what happens when we focus so much about the future, that we don’t pay enough attention to the present. And whether we like to admit it or not, that’s usually the case when we’re thinking about our children's’ future.

How often do we focus and spend so much time at work because we want to make as much money as we possibly can so that we can provide and give the best to our children? To the point where when we get home, we’re either still focused on work or too exhausted to spend quality time with our children.

I’ll be the first time admit that I’ve been guilty of that many times ever since I became a dad. Guilty to the point that the guilt just builds up.

But when you think about it, when you think about everything that you’re going through right now as an adult, as a parent, what influences you the most when you make certain choices?

Your past, that’s what.

Everything that you have gone through since you were young, every experience that you had growing up, those are what shaped you to be the person, the adult that you are today.

A lot of issues adults face were because of childhood traumas or experiences that they were never able to heal from.

Personally, I suffered from a lack of self-confidence because when I was younger, I was always compared to my older, more successful siblings. I was never as smart as them, never as good-looking as them, never did the things that they did, never was interested in the things that they were interested in.

I was always labelled the odd one out.

And it screwed me up big time. Even as an adult, I also second-guess myself. I doubt the decisions that I make, even when I know that it’s the right one. That’s because I was always put down and belittled when I was younger. And it came from my teachers and even my own mother.

I know they probably wanted to try and motivate me to do better, to strive for more, but it was the opposite. They made me not like myself and made me feel inferior to others.

My childhood trauma has and is still affecting me. It took me a while to finally realise it and I’m working hard to sort it out but it’s hard and I definitely don’t want my children to go through the same thing.

Besides, we can never predict the future. Will there even be one? We just don’t know, do we?

While it’s good that we still try our best to ensure they have a future and a good one at that, we should never ever neglect their present because that is so much more important.

As an adult, I don’t really remember or care about the money my parents gave me. We were poor anyways and there were times where we struggled. But I do remember my parents always making time to spend with me and my siblings. They tried their best to bring us on holidays, take us for walks after dinner, tuck us in to sleep.

Those are the things that I remember clearly because those were the things that I wanted most from them at that time — their love and attention.

It’s good that you want to make money so that you can send them to college and get a good education. But at the same time, make sure to also give them your time, your love, and do that by showing it to them, by making sure your actions speak louder.

Give them those hugs, give them those kisses.

Read those stories to them before bed, tuck them in nicely, stroke their hair and give them a kiss on the forehead.

Take them to the parks, play with them, run around with them, laugh, sweat, slide in the puddle, whatever makes them happy, do it with them.

Give them a happy childhood and trust me, the chances of them having a good future as adults will be good.

Our focus as parents should always be on our children but at the same time, it should be on who they are now, not who they will be in the future. The time we have with them at this present moment and how we spend it with them will determine how they will be like as adults.

So often we fail to see the importance of the emotional side of things because we focus too much on the material side.

Again, nothing wrong in wanting to give only the best things to our kids but that should be balanced out between materialistic things and non-materialistic things.

And when it comes down to it, non-materialistic things are the priority most of the time.

That’s why, I urge you to always prioritise that for your children. They’re only kids for a short time and we want them to have a happy childhood growing up. Give that to them. Do your best in giving that to them.

Hug them, kiss them, give them all the love that you can and show it to them, every single day.

It’s the best thing you can do for them — now and in the future.

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Benny Lim

Medium writer since 2019, writing my way to a better life, and helping you lead a better life, one article at a time. https://iambennylim.medium.com/membership