Should I Release Expectations in Fatherhood?

Today was a hard day. I woke up sad. Well, actually I went to bed sad. Our 4 year old son says the meanest things to me. He really hasn’t been nice to me since he was born. I am a doting dad and I was so excited to have another child. Noor was 9 years old when Isa was born and I relished the idea of having another baby.

Yet as soon as Isa borne it was obvious that he would that take being a “mama’s boy” to a whole new level.

It was disheartening that he would even cry when I would snuggle beside him. He rarely would fall asleep in my arms. He never allowed me to hug him while watching TV.

It hasn’t been much different since. Just 2 weeks ago I was so excited to take him to opening of the new marvel movie but he insisted he only wanted to go with his mom.

I’m sharing this because I’m sad. I’m confused. Its got me pondering even deeper aspects of parenthood. When I looked at Noor in her crib at a few days old it dawned on me that she was her own person and not “my” kid. Parents tend to think or at least act like their kids are their property. Yes they literally come from us but they are their own person. I don’t own my kids.

Likewise Isa is his own person. I guess he doesn’t have to like me. (Yes, he tells me that often)

This has really been one of the most difficult things for me. Stoic principles have helped me. A lot actually. I guess the stoic idea of releasing results applies to the attachment of a child to its parent too?

I do know I had an expectation that we would be close and so I guess that is the root of the issue.

Maybe we’re not meant to have a close relationship. Is that a bad thing? I don’t know for sure but it’s only bad because I had an expectation that we would be.

It’s my fault that I attached myself to an expectation that’s outside of my control. I can only control myself and do the effort but I can’t control or be attached to the results.

That makes me ponder the whole premise of parenting. We think we need to give an immense amount of our time but do we? Or do we need to be there for them when they need us?

Maybe we need to treat them more like equals and have clear boundaries on how they’re allowed to treat us.

Maybe we need to know and be OK with some kids not needing our attention, hugs, and kisses.

Maybe being readily accessible to our kids allows them to take us for granted. For those of us that overwhelm our kids with love from day one we might cause a condition where they don’t know what being loved really means. They have no reference point. Humans learn by experiencing extremes. Maybe always being there to tell them we love them and love on them robs them of the opportunity to know how amazing being loved on feels compared to loneliness and neglect.

We don’t need to love on our enemy to fulfill our duty towards loving enemy. Likewise we love our kids but do we need to love on them when they are being rude, mean, hateful toward us?

I don’t know the right answer but I know I am hurt and sad and I’m unwilling to be treated like a doormat by a 4 year old.

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