My son told me one day “It’s clear, Dad prefers Valentina and you prefer me!” I looked at him with widened eyes. Then my daughter said: “Yes, mom, it’s true”. That was the beginning of a big series of questions for me that were revolving around 1) what I was teaching my children and 2) the education I had received myself. It led me to ask myself this: Do we subconsciously plant ourselves in our childen of the same sex?
Obviously, after the remark of my son and daughter, I asked them to elaborate on their feelings a little. They unanimously declared that I am, as a mother, sterner with my daughter and less so with my son and that their father is harsher with our son than with our daughter. I obviously do not agree with them because I have always cherished them the same and always given as much love as I can to both. I reassured them that I love them both and I apologized if I had given off a different impression. I promised I would be more careful in the future. And so we were off digging into the problem.
I turned to the past – what were the situations or events that might have made them believe that? Well, I did not manage to come up with any. All that came to mind is that in fact that I always had a more fluid and relaxed relationship with my son. My daughter… I found her on the defensive in a lot of situations so it was becoming increasingly difficult to cuddle up with her as she was growing up. However, I did not understand what could have led to creating this impression they had of me and my behaviour.
I began to observe myself, my emotions and reactions in the ordinary moments of our family life. I was already divorced and fortunately so because otherwise I would probably have focused on the education of their father instead of mine and may have missed a great opportunity to improve on myself as a mother.
What came out of this introspection was very subtle and yet very real – I had indeed more patience and understanding for my son. The situations are always different of course but in the background I could easily draw the parallels.
And why was that so? I think that in fact we have a different relationship with each of our children because they themselves have very different personalities, but I know now that it was not the only reason why I was harsher on my daughter than my son.
I realized that subconsciously I was projecting myself onto my daughter. I am a woman and she was going to become a woman, and so my duty towards her was to equip her with the right tools for this task. I had to prepare her for the reality of being a woman in this world. My ex-husband was preparing my son to become a man the same way he is.
This is when all my mother’s teachings I had received started coming back to me. Some were quite good but others were nothing but her own demons that she surely subconsciously passed over onto me. And believe me that for some of them, I would have been better off not getting them.
The philosophy of yoga taught me a very beautiful truth. Each of us comes to earth with our own path, our own destiny, our own goal to accomplish. My life is only mine and my daughter’s life is hers.
Since this realization, my relationship with my daughter started changing. I see her now as a being in her own right, I do not make any more of my own projections, as she has her own way of doing things. My only duty towards her is to love her and accompany her safely towards the discovery of her own qualities and faults, her own strengths and weaknesses, her own destiny, so that she too can flourish in her singularity and not just be a mini me.
The purpose of this article is to invite you to reflect, stop for a moment and observe yourself in your relationship with your children, especially if they are of the same gender as you, so that perhaps a little more consciousness enters in how you connect with them. You can let them discover themselves freely and guide them to see what their lives hold for them.
And let us not forget that the world of tomorrow needs well-equipped adults to reimagine this world, hence if they aren different from us that may be not to bad!