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Parents and Their Children

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Old 07-26-2006, 11:44 AM
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Parents and Their Children

The dramatic undertone of the comedy TV show "The Gilmore Girls" focuses on perhaps the most important aspect of parent-child relationships.

Lorelai loves her parents, but she chokes on trying to tell them because they sort of disowned her when she failed to follow the life they wanted for her.

And there's the rub. Too many parents demand that their children follow in their footsteps or live the kind of life they wanted but never had. They want to live vicariously through their children, but that's not fair to the kids.

Parents have the responsibility to teach their children right from wrong and how to behave like civilized human beings, but that's as far as it should go. Personal choices about occupation, marriage, lifestyle etc. must be left up to the children. This requires the parents to let go at some point in the lives of their children and many parents can't seem to do this.

I've seen plenty of middle-aged people living the lives their parents forced them into and it's not a pretty sight. It's like they never grew up and became real adults.

This isn't "love," no matter what the parents tell themselves. It's emotionally-stunting domination in which the children can't win: they're damned if they go along with it and hatefully resented if they don't.

My father pushed me to live the life he had always wanted for himself. When I resisted, it drove a wedge between us that remained until the day he died. When I had my own children, I bent over backwards not to make the same mistake and I think I succeeded. My two children have followed their own paths in life that were nothing like mine.

IMO some people have children for all the wrong reasons: the vain hope of immortality, to make up for their own disappointments in life, to lord it over dependent little creatures, to bolster a shaky sense of manhood or womanhood.

But all children are unique and if their parents really loved them, they would encourage the kids to follow the original stamp of their personalities. The world is a better place with as many different kinds of people as possible.

"The earth was made round so we can't see too far down the road and know what is coming." -- Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa
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