Imagine the following scenario:
You are five years old. You have watched an exciting tale about firemen dousing a house aflame and you rush through your house to find your mom.
"Mom, I want to be a fireman!" you yell, gripped with excitement.
Your mom stares at you, her eyes widening slightly. "Josh, that's really dangerous. Why don't you think about being a vet instead? You love animals, don't you?"
"But mom, firemen have the coolest uniforms and they are heroes! There was smoke and orange fire and these firemen used an enormous hose of water and put it out and they rescued a family!"
"Let's talk about it later", she says distractedly. You watch her turn away.
A small inner part of you crumbles. You are five years old and your mom's opinion means the world to you.
Many years later, when you are eighteen years old, your mother wonders why you lack direction and inner resolve. "Josh, make a decision", she sighs in frustration, when you ponder your subject selection day after day for your remaining years of school She wonders why you seem unmotivated by life. She forgets the many times you found something you were passionate about throughout your childhood, only to have your excitement dashed by her quick frown and quiet disagreement. Even though you were so excited about being a firemen at the age of five, you may never have become a fireman. And now you lack a sense of identity and don't know who you really are or what you could be. Your mom doesn't realise the impact her disapproval has had on your life.
Allow your children space to search out their own sense of identity while they are developing their fragile sense of self. Allow people around you to be who they are. You would want the same respect for yourself, wouldn't you?