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My three oldest biological children are now ages 21, 19and 14. As the years have passed, like most parents, I am always amazed by how different they are from each other even though they have the same parents and life circumstances.Their own unique personalities began showing up within weeks of their birth and have continued into this day. As they get older and reach certain milestones, I have realized how important it is to respect each of them as their own person and stop myself from plugging them into the same life expectations.My first realization of these differences came as I discovered that they wouldn’t all be 4.0 students or excel at the subjects that I did. I have watched parents punish their children for not getting all A’s or struggling in certain subjects. It took me a long time to realize that what should matter the most was the effort they were putting in and the responsibility they would show towardtheir own studies.Mother and daughter Laura and Eva Ellis spent a special afternoon reading together at a local Starbucks. It doesn’t take long to realize that they are going to be individuals and have an independent voice if you allow it. Of course, they need guidance and discipline to learn how to use that voice, but letting them be who they are supposed to be is the first lesson in letting go.I remember when my oldest son was young, how much he loved to have a bedtime story. As he got older, his attention turned away from reading and I thought surely something must be wrong. His interests were in math and business and he had to read plenty for those classes but he just didn’t enjoy literature. I was so worried. I sit here today just months from his graduation with an accounting degree and laugh at how much I worried about his lack of reading after a certain age. He found what he loves and spends every day working with numbers.My second child was an avid reader. I remember feeling so relieved because she was a reader. Being so focused on that in the beginning also seems strange to me now. She excels in working with people in need. She is studying to be a nurse and has a completely different brain than her brother. He may find subjects easier but she is the hardest worker I know. They get to the same results with such different methods, and the best thing I learned was to honor their individual paths.My 14 year old daughter excels academically and loves to play basketball. She is 5’2″ but that doesn’t stop her. I never gave a thought to how much she reads because by then I had learned to focus on what works for her.She doesn’t respond to the same methods of discipline as her two older siblings so I learned to find ways that do work with her. In making those changes, I found a solid way to her heart and she learned to respect me as much as I learned to respect her.I felt compelled to write this because as parents we feel so much pressure to have our kids be the best at everything. Not every child will be the best at everything. Not every child will get straight A’s,
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but honestly it will have little bearing on their success if they learn to work hard and be responsible in their life.How they treat people will become much more valuable in their future than what score they get on their CRT in 3rd grade. When I go to parent/teacher conferences, I like to see how my child is progressing but more importantly, I want to know if they are being a good friend. Are they helping the teacher when things need to be done? Are they reaching out to lonely students or new transfers? They will become much better contributors to our society if we focus on their well rounded life and stress less about every paper they write or every grade they get.I do expect my children to give their all, but I gave up on the idea of perfection a long time ago and my relationship with all of them improved.Recently, I was at a Starbucks and saw a mom and daughter to my left snuggling and each reading a book. I was so touched by the moment. I was familiar with both of the books they were holding as I had read the book the mom was reading and have watched my children read the book her daughter was enjoying. They were lost in a wonderful moment.It reminded me to love my children at every step of their lives. One day that daughter may decide she doesn’t like to read as much or she may go on to read one new book a week. She will succeed because she is loved and honored. I struck up a conversation with both of them and this was their first date to go read at Starbucks. I told her how some of my kids read with passion and others focused on other things they enjoyed. I realized in that moment how much I had let go of what society told me I should do with my children and instead listen to my children and what drives them.I have changed so much through the years, even believing that college isn’t always the right path even though I used to think it was the most important thing. Some of the most successful and caring people I know didn’t go to college and it is just a reminder to encourage our children to work hard and follow their dreams.I encourage them to do something every day that takes them out of their comfort zone so they can find out who they are. My life as a mother improved immensely once I let go of the little box I thought my children belonged in and instead let them take control of shaping their lives. As it turns out, I think I will end up with an accountant, a nurse, and a doctor so the paths they are on are leading them to the things that they love.My toddler is still in diapers so no telling yet where he ends up, but he loves the library and I will respect this stage and every other one that follows. I will definitely encourage the reading as I know it is important, but I refuse to lose sleep over it ever again.
ugg shoes women Let your kids be who they're meant to be