Most parents don't realize they're doing it. I openly admit to living vicariously through my children. Maybe my awareness will decrease the negative impact on my kids.
I realized it during dance lessons last year, I was more into it than they were. It's me who loves to dance. But kids are expected to explore, expand and enjoy such revelry. Adults seem to be trapped in a more reserved, settled-in persona. We supposedly have found our true vocation and only find fun in reserved activities like golf or cornhole.
So, we are letting go of dance lessons for the coming year, at least for the kids. My youngest wants to take karate and the older one wants girl scouts and guitar. I'm pretty sure she wants girl scouts and guitar. It's hard to tell how much I'm influencing those choices for such a compliant and pleasing child. I'm fairly certain I had no bearing in the choice for karate.
This summer, my daughter opted for a week of Theater Camp. Oh great, another unquenched passion of mine. I have deep regrets for not getting involved in theater in high school. I'm not sure why I didn't, but I guess it had to do with the unspoken rules of social boundaries that one is not allowed to cross. But when did we get into our category? I don't recall making that choice.
Yesterday, I'm dropping off at Theater Camp for the first time and my inner excitement is hard to contain. Descending that aisle to the apron of the stage awakens my remorse for so many great times I could have had.
Since I'm aware of this, I think I need to do something about it. I need to bust out of those boring adult expectations. I will look into dance classes for adults. I am vowing to myself to get involved in community theater when my kids are older and getting more independent and involved in activities.
So many parents involve themselves so completely in the lives of their children, that they become mopey and sad once the kids spread their wings and have less attachment to parents. I hope to enjoy the time to spread my own wings. We'll see how that goes.