Your Children are on Their Own Soul's Journey
By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
In a phone session with Gerald, one of
my clients, he expressed to me that he was feeling very sad about
his son, Luc. Luc, 29 years old, was not doing much with his life,
and Gerald was berating himself for how he had parented Luc.
"I should have spent more time with him. I should have motivated him
more. I should have been a better role model. I should have been
more firm with him." On and on he went,
judging himself for how he had been as a parent.
"Gerald," I said, "Luc is on his own soul's journey. Even if you had
been a perfect parent – and none of us really knows what that means
– Luc might still be having the challenges
he is having."
"Really? Wow! That makes me feel much better! I never thought of it
that way. Tell me more about what you mean by his own soul's
"I mean that each of us comes here to learn certain soul lessons.
Regardless of how good or bad your parenting was, Luc is on his own
journey, making his own choices. You can take responsibility for how
you were as a parent, but you cannot take responsibility for the
choices he is making for his life."
"But I keep feeling that if I had been a better parent, he would not
be struggling the way he is."
"Maybe and maybe not. You have no way of knowing this. Your
self-judgment is your attempt to have control over something you
have no control over – Luc's choices. You are trying to avoid your
feelings of helplessness regarding Luc. But you are helpless over
him. You cannot make him be different.
"Each child is different and each child will respond differently to
our parenting. We do the best we can for our children. Most parents
want the very best for their children and feel deep pain when their
children go through pain. Yet we cannot prevent them from their own
"So what can I do to help him?"
"The very best thing you can do is to continue doing your own inner
work, while praying for him. Even though he is 29, you are still a
role model for him. Certainly judging yourself is not good role
modeling. Luc needs to see you doing all you can to take loving care
of yourself. When he sees you feeling really good about yourself and
happy with your life, he might decide to make some changes. Aside
from becoming a loving role model and praying for him, there is
really nothing you can do about his choices. You need to accept your
helplessness over him instead of trying to have control over him.
Any attempts to control him will likely result in resistance."
"Yes, he seems to be very resistant to anything I say. This is part
of my frustration and sadness."
"Right. That's why you need to let go of trying to control him. You
need to let go of being invested in the outcome regarding his
choices and just keep on your own journey. The
more you let go of him, the better chance you have of him making
loving choices for himself, especially when he sees you making
loving choices for yourself."
Most parents want to think that they have more control over their
children than they do. We want to think that if we "do it right" we
can control the outcome we want for our children. It will make it
much easier to let go of trying to control our children and just be
the very best parents we can, when we understand and accept that
they are on their own soul's journey.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the
best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including Do I
Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You? and Healing Your
Aloneness. She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding
healing process, Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her web site for a
FREE Inner Bonding course:
email her at
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