John and Barbara have three children in junior and senior high school. Their house is the site of frequent battles concerning how much the children should study and what grades are acceptable.
The main battle is with their youngest child, Peter, who refuses to study. The more they pressure him, the more rebellious he becomes. He now perceives them to be his enemies, and a great power struggle has ensued.
Peter lacks self-confidence and self-acceptance, and is tired of being compared to his older sisters. Although he would like to have good grades, he fears failure and thus, he prefers not to try at all.
He would much rather play at the computer and search the net than study subjects he feels have nothing to do with life. He prefers to partake in activities he can control and succeed at, rather than those which hold the risk of failure and create anxiety.
John and Barbara attach great deal of importance to grades, success, economic status, and most of all, to how they and their children compare to other families and what others think of them.
They find it difficult to decide how much responsibility they have for Peter’s future, and whether or not it is their duty to pressure him.
What creates even more anxiety for them is the fact that they are programmed to believe his “failure” is their “failure.” They measure their self-worth as persons and parents by their childrenΥs grades and accomplishments.
They are ashamed to admit to others that Peter is not doing well. They feel lessened.
Peter realizes this and is hurt by the fact that they are allowing what other people think to be more important than how he feels. He feels misunderstood, rejected, and unloved. His parents feel the same.
He needs to be accepted and loved for the person he is, regardless of his grades. His parents do love him, but their fears concerning his future, their own self-worth as parents, and what others think of them, prevent them from expressing their love without inhibitions.
Peter would like to make them happy, but his fear of failure and need to protect his freedom and self-worth by rebelling against their pressure become obstacles in his ability to do so.
They all need to analyze and free themselves from the beliefs and attachments preventing them from experiencing and expressing the love they have for each other.
What can John and Barbara learn in order to gain peace of mind and heal their relationship with Peter?
Some of their possible lessons might be to:
1. Understand that they cannot create his reality.
2. Realize that their self-worth does not depend on their childrenΥs educational performance.
3. Get free from being concerned about how others perceive them.
4. Focus on the purity of their motives and quality of their efforts and not on the results in terms of PeterΥs grades.
5. Understand that grades are only one aspect of success and survival.
6. Have faith in PeterΥs ability to deal with life and succeed.
7. Speak to Peter and transfer responsibility for his grades and life to him, assuring him that they love him and will be there for him whenever he needs them.
8. Listen to and respect PeterΥs fears and needs.
9. Explain their needs and fears to him without pressuring, criticizing or complaining.
10. Love him unconditionally, as he is.
11. Realize that their child is a divine creation.
What can Peter need to learn in order to find himself and proceed with his life?
Some of his possible lessons might be to:
1. Believe in his own intelligence and ability to succeed.
2. Realize that his self-worth has nothing to do with his grades.
3. Cease comparing himself with his sisters.
4. Realize that his parents love him but are concerned for his future.
5. Believe in himself and realize that his is worthy of love and respect exactly as he is.
6. Realize that real freedom is to be able to do what is in his own best interest and not to not do what others want.
By adjusting their belief systems, this family could solve many of their problems.
John and Barbara might find peace in some of the following beliefs:
1. Our child is God’s creation and has within him the blueprints of his life. We are here to aid him in his search for himself.
2. Our child is like a seed that knows what it needs to become. We are here simply to water the seed and nourish it, not to tell him how to live his life.
3. Our self-worth depends solely on our motives and effort to help our child, not on the result.
4. We are worthy of love and respect regardless of our childrenΥs grades.
5. We are worthy of love and respect regardless of what others think or say.
6. Our child has the ability and inner guidance to create success and happiness regardless of his education.
7. Life gives us and our children exactly what each of us needs for his/her growth.
8. We offer love, guidance and support to our child, but allow him to make his own choices and grow through living the consequences of those choices.
9. We understand and respect our childΥs fears and seek to help him believe in himself.
Peter might be helped by some of the following beliefs:
1. I am intelligent and totally capable of succeeding in school and life.
2. I deserve love and respect regardless of my grade level.
3. I am special and unique from my sisters and all others.
4. I will create success and happiness in my life.
5. I am worthy of love and respect exactly as I am.
6. I understand my parentsΥ anxiety and need to pressure me to study, and feel their love behind those actions.
7. I understand their fears and accept them as they are.
8. Real freedom is the freedom to intelligently direct my energy in ways that benefit my life and future.
9. My parents love me and are trying to help me in their own way.