The Paradox of Parenthood

Article by Sheryn Gung

First published in Insight Magazine July 2011.

“I don’t get parents,” I grumped. I draped my jacket over the back of Chrissie’s dining chair and slumped down. Mum had just dropped me off. She had nagged me again on the way over about getting my license before going to India. “They say they want us to be happy, but then want to change us to suit their definition of happiness.”

            “Here, here,” Chrissie agreed, pouring me a cup of jasmine tea and sliding it my way. “Nah, my parents don’t even want me to be happy! Happiness isn’t a good-paying job they can brag to their Honkie friends about.” Her voice lowered to mimic her Dad’s: “Oh, my kids are happy!” “Happeee?!,” came the imagined response in a high-pitched faux Chinese accent. “Who give rat’s arse?! My kid got accept into Med-Law dou-ble de-gree and receive Honour in Level Eight piano exam!” Chrissie waved a piglet-shaped cake as she spoke and laughter spilled into the room. I knew the kind of parental pressure Chrissie suffered. Her parents had been quite strict with her during high school, never letting her go on school camps so she could study ahead and get a leg-up on her peers. They had expected her to perform brilliantly in academia as a teenager; I doubted that that sort of burden would lift even in Chrissie’s adulthood. In Year 12, Chrissie had achieved an ENTER score of 93.15. She was grounded for a month.

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How many of us have found ourselves in Ellen’s and Chrissie’s position, where our well-meaning parents say they want us to be happy, but offer guidance and advice that steer us away from our internal happiness compass? Parents usually come from a loving space and want the best for their children. However, they may fall into the trap of wanting to live vicariously through their kids, or want their children to meet or exceed the achievements of other children in their circles (from someone of an Asian background, I know this is especially true for Asian parents, where the cultural value of “saving face” seems to be embedded in their DNA). My friends assure me that this paradox extends from the Asian culture to many people from ethnic (ie, non anglo-saxon) backgrounds, where their parents had immigrated to Australia and worked hard to establish a good life for their families. In turn, they want their children to do the same – work hard and provide for their families – because they believe this will make them happy. While this may be true for some people, what about those who don’t follow the conventional rules of life? What about those who want to break ground and be entrepreneurs, or are happily single, or God forbid, are in committed relationships but deliberately choose not to have children?

As teenagers, performing well in academia seems to be the focus – the key to happiness later in life. “If you get high grades, you’ll get into a great university course with an excellent reputation, then you can get a good, well-paying job and then you’ll be happy.” I don’t know about you, but it seems like a very long-winded way to reach an internal state that is easily accessible right now! While education is inarguably important (and something we too readily take for granted in this bountiful country of ours), I’d like to see more teenagers embark on a different kind of learning: that of discovering the self and fundamental spiritual truths. Identifying what makes you truly happy and recognizing that happiness is available now if you choose it, is one of the great truths of life that far exceeds the daily high school grind of timetables and exams!

The pressure, expectations and comparisons don’t stop after leaving high school for many young adults. They simply wear different outfits – instead of, “get good grades”, they now scream, “get married and have children before you get too old!” Society echoes these kind of expectations because these factors are apparently, the determinants of success – it’s what normal, happy people choose to do. These are also the kind of messages we feed our children, whether it’s intentional or subliminal. As an example, one of my twelve year-old Crystal Girls Club students exclaimed, “You’re almost thirty! When are you going to have children?! You’re almost dead!” Yes, one of those situations when you either laugh or cry, so I chose to laugh…

On a more serious note, setting these “benchmarks of success” messages to children and young adults can lead to internal conflicts and insecurities later in life if their true callings run contrary  to familial, cultural or societal norms. One person’s definition of happiness is not necessarily the same as another person’s definition of happiness. Certainly with the Children of the New Earth, adults have much to gain from being open-minded to their innate wisdom and fundamental sense of why they’re here on this Planet during this time. On the most part, the purpose of the Children of the New Earth has very little to do with getting good grades and getting married  and having children, and much more to do with ushering a new Age of peace, harmony and truth through their own unique gifts.

My mother always scolded me for “doing things opposite”. If only she knew that by doing what I wanted to do, I was achieving what she wanted me to have all along: happiness.

Excerpt in this article from “The Autumn Year”, used with permission from EarthDream Publishing.


Sheryn Gung specialises in the Children of the New Earth and their Ascension. She is the author of “The Autumn Year”, a self-development novel with strong spiritual and environmental themes, written for Crystal and Indigo Children in their teens and early 20s. Sheryn is also a natural health practitioner and a TV presenter, currently working on a mainstream international project about spirituality and enlightenment. Visit