First of all I would like to thank my daughters who provide me with all the inspirations to write these articles. Our children are the best teachers in becoming better parents so we need to pay the necessary attention in everything they tell us.
One day while driving home with my daughter (she was 5 at the time) we passed next to an ice-cream truck. My daughter as always whenever she sees an ice cream truck got excited and as I expected it she goes, “Daddy I want an ice cream.” Then she announced, “Daddy when I grow up I want to be an ice cream lady.” Even though I wanted so much to ask her, “So that you would sell ice creams or eat them yourself?”, I asked her a couple of questions about what flavour would she have, how much would she charge, etc. We had a nice conversation and at the end I told her that in her life she can be whatever she wants as long as she loves what she is doing.
The message I want to give here though is a bit different. Now if my daughter really wants to and becomes a lady who sells ice cream I truthfully don’t mind. Like I told my daughter in the car, and it’s always important to mean what we tell our kids otherwise it would turn against us sooner or later, what matters is that she loves what she’s doing and she’s happy with what she chooses to do. If as parents we express our disappointment or even if we forbid such thoughts, dreams and fantasies, for our own reasons and issues, then obstacles would be inserted in the freedom of expressing thoughts and feelings which are crucial for our kid’s mental health. Questions would be raised in our kids that very few parents, unfortunately, would bother to answer and discuss and in the future such a forbiddance would bring reactions. If I tell my daughter, “I forbid you to be an ice cream lady,” tomorrow she may become an ice cream lady for the wrong reasons which would most probably be unconscious. Or she may remain, as it often happens in the children of Cypriots, the obedient child that follows unconsciously the internal voice of the parents and she would never find herself and what she truly wants.
We lead our kids, consciously and unconsciously, to follow a career that would not fulfil them emotionally but only to bring them a lot of money. As parents, unfortunately, we often insert the seed of unhappiness in our kids. Such parents don’t realise their own unhappiness, they live in the illusion of a happy life, and in turn they transfer their misery, like most probably their own parents did, to their kids. Let’s awake at last. It’s never too late to change our lives, to become healthier and happier. My experience in psychoanalysis has taught me that many times.