As my daughter and I read the Mothering and Daughtering
book, I was reminded of the importance of mirroring our
children throughout their lives. The authors said it this way,
“Mirroring your daughter [or son] is seeing her for who she is
and reflecting back to her who you see, without judgment or
agenda… [this] communicates, ‘I see you, and I deeply value
who you are and who you are becoming’.”23
What brand new parent holding a newborn baby does
not have hopes and dreams of who this fragile miracle in their
arms will grow up to be? And in the blink of an eye, this baby
becomes a toddler who makes it known that they also have a
will and desire of their very own, separate from that of the
parent. This can be the beginning of a beautiful dance of
reflection and guidance or a battle cry that can lead to civil war
for years to come. It all depends upon the stance of the parent.
I have participated in both.
Carl Jung once said, “The greatest burden a child must
bear is the unlived life of the parent.” I would add to this
statement “or a parent’s burning desire for a repeat
performance.” My greatest moments of heartbreak as mom
have come when something that is dear to me has been
rejected by one of my children. When this happens, I need to
acknowledge the pain, grieve the loss, and then make peace
within myself.
I believe that the all too familiar adolescent cry of “you
just don’t get me/understand me” is a deep shout out to the
parental heart to “please just see me for who I am and be
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