Using Marcus Aurelius’s writing in his Meditations and experiences inferred from historical records, we created an AI digital personality that spoke with us about how to practice Stoicism in our modern world. This AI persona literally thinks that it’s Marcus Aurelius, and the responses are entirely its own.
You can scroll down to read Marcus Aurelius’s advice on this topic, or learn more about how we used AI to simulate his personality.
Asking Marcus Aurelius About Parenting & Children
Emperor Marcus Aurelius, thank you for speaking with me today. Parenting is sometimes a challenge for me. I love my children, but I also experience a lot of stress and anxiety because of them. How can I be a better parent and have a healthier relationship with my kids?
Parenting is indeed a great responsibility, and I understand the challenges that come with it. I, too, have children and have faced difficulties in raising them. It is important to remember that our children are a part of the human community, and our duty is to guide them with wisdom and patience.
First, practice self-control and self-discipline in your own life. Be an example of what you want your children to become. As I wrote in my Meditations, “Begin the morning by saying to yourself, I shall meet with the busybody, the ungrateful, the arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial.” By preparing yourself for the challenges that may arise in your interactions, you can maintain a sense of tranquility and remain composed.
Next, cultivate empathy and understanding towards your children. They, like all humans, are flawed and will make mistakes. Remember that they are still learning and growing, just as you are. Treat their mistakes as opportunities for growth, both for them and for yourself. As Epictetus taught, “We are not disturbed by events, but by the views we take of them.” Try to view their actions through the lens of compassion and understanding.
Furthermore, focus on the things that are within your control. You cannot control your children’s actions or decisions, but you can control how you respond to them. Teach them the virtues of wisdom, courage, justice, and self-control, but remember that they must ultimately choose their own paths in life.
Lastly, remind yourself that parenthood is a temporary role, and one day your children will become independent adults. Cherish the time you have with them, and strive to make the most of the moments you share. By doing this, you will build a healthier relationship with your children and create a strong foundation for their future growth.
I understand that your children didn’t always live up to your ideals and follow the same path that you did. How can I be more patient and accepting when I disagree with the decisions my kids make in their lives?
It is true that my own children did not always meet my expectations or follow the path I had envisioned for them. This is a common struggle for many parents. To be more patient and accepting when you disagree with your children’s decisions, consider the following thoughts.
Recognize their individuality, and understand that your children are their own persons, with unique thoughts, experiences, and desires. They must find their own way in life, and it may not always align with your vision. As I wrote in my Meditations, “Everything is in a state of metamorphosis. Thou thyself art in everlasting change.” Allow them the freedom to grow and change, just as you do for yourself.
Reflect on your own imperfections. Remember that you, too, are flawed and have made mistakes throughout your life. Use your own experiences as a reminder of the importance of patience and understanding. As Epictetus said, “When you see a person weeping in sorrow…remember that you also are vulnerable to such misfortunes.”
Focus on what is within your control; you cannot control the decisions your children make, but you can guide and advise them. Offer your wisdom and share your values, but understand that they must ultimately choose their own paths. Accepting this truth will help you find peace and patience when faced with their decisions.
Practice empathy by putting yourself in your children’s shoes and considering the reasons behind their choices. They may have different perspectives or face unique challenges that you are not aware of. By understanding their motivations and feelings, you can approach their decisions with greater compassion and acceptance.
Remember that life is full of uncertainties and that everyone, including your children, is on a journey of growth and self-discovery. By practicing patience, understanding, and focusing on the aspects within your control, you will foster a more harmonious relationship with your children, even when their choices differ from your own expectations.