As a child, a daughter and a sister, I think the most important thing my parents can do for me is to just listen. The generation gap is unavoidable and since they care about me as much as I care about them, many times I wish they could just listen to me a little more. The fact that my parents brought me into life is a blessing, yet if they listen to me for what I want and how I feel, that’s how they breath life into me.
From a new born to a little kid, the only way our parents can communicate to us is through listening by interpreting our cry and by watching our behaviors as well as our reactions. Yet strangely, the more we grow up, the more our parents expect us to listen to them, this is what I have learnt from my experience and my observation. Probably because the more we as children get to control, the more they are afraid that we are out of their control. Let’s talk from the root of things, parents are the first ones who cultivate the way a child perceive and define things that this is orange, this is yellow, this is good, this is bad, this is how it is. It works similarly to ‘role models’, subconsciously at least. So if parents do not listen to children, how do they expect their children to do the same thing? In fact, from a child’s perspectives, the more I feel heard, the more I want to share and same for the opposite. Listening to me is like the key to erase existing barriers between parents and children.
It is also interesting that as other animals, a child is a product of his parents, yet as human, this product has a self so he may not become a product his parents want it to be. If parents don’t understand this, conflicts are going to happen. Child wants to be ‘who I am’ while parents want him to be ‘my child’. Having said that, a child should not give up on his parents, running away is a not a solution because family is the foundation, your parents are there no matter you accept it or not. This way, what kind of product we become is shaped by our family, our environment and ourselves. Though how each of these factors contribute to varies among our lives. I have seen people who have unsolvable and deep conflicts with their parents just because they cannot talk to them, in other words, they don’t feel heard. The longer it accumulates, the more distance they have. There was a saying from someone that I find it so true: “Family is to love, not to choose” while the latter happens more often.
I have 15 years brought up by my parents and 11 years by society, all people I have met and experienced with, in that, 23 years happened in Vietnam and 3 years in America so I am both influenced by Asian and American culture. Therefore, my parents are far far away from understanding who I am now given the fact that I have tried to share with them most of what has happened to me. Although, I always appreciate my parents for standing by to give me the support I need, they still do things just based on their concerns about me and my life. They still have expectations as many other parents and their expectations led me to choices: “whether I should meet certain level of their expectations? what if I do not?” I thought the smartest way maybe to listen to them for subjects I don’t care much about and listen to myself for subject matters the most to me, which is easier said than done. The way I think is different from the way my family think most of the time but I do not want to be upset about this, I want to bring them on my side though it is tough and takes time. One way or the other, our family is our family, we cannot run away from them, all we need is to work on our relationship with our family and to maintain a safe distance.