Why investing in your child can be a lousy idea?
We as parents need to understand that we don’t really invest in our children.
To invest in something means ‘to spend or devote for future advantage or benefit’. It means that we hope that the investment will bring us some kind of a dividend down the road.
If we change the language that we use to describe what we do for our children we will be much more supportive of their needs and care not (or less) about our own.
We spend much money on our children — this is a simple fact of life and we as parents who actually raise our children can’t do anything about it. That we do it eagerly is another story. But we’d do much better if we talked about spending the money (as on food, fuel, etc), not investing it (as in shares, real estates, etc).
Thinking in terms of investing builds unhealthy expectations in a parent-child relationship. Why? Because we usually expect that the investment will bring us some kind of a benefit.
If we were to think broadly about the benefits, about the kinds of benefits that our planet or even our community can reap because of the fact that we’ve invested in our children, it’d be something completely different. There would be nothing wrong with such argument.
Most people however don’t think that broadly about their “investments” in their children. They think in terms of one owing the other, of being entitled to some sort of a gain or prerogative — be it a power to decide the child’s religion, romantic relationship, way of raising her children, or future career.
Those parents usually don’t hesitate for a second to label their investment and their sacrifices. And if the child still refuses to comply, it means that he is an unappreciative brat and the parents will often threaten the child that they will stop supporting him or even disown him.
For the most part, those are the parents who talk about investing in their children. Those are the parents who don’t take No for an answer and, more often than not, stifle their children’s growth by forcing them to comply to their demands which, for them (parents), are legitimate because of the investment they’ve made.
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