My worst parenting moment ever.
Y’all know I’m an advocate for treating children with respect and peace, and regulating ourselves.
But I do not always manage to do that, myself.
About a year ago I had a particularly shameful response to a completely normal – if a little irritating – comment my son made. (Watch the video above for the full story – it’s hard for me to share, but I think it’s important.)
I don’t even remember what the comment was (hangs head in shame).
But I remember my automatic, animalistic, furious reaction – vividly.
And as is apparent from him recently bringing it up again – so does he. He’ll probably never forget it, and I wouldn’t want him to.
You see, when we clench our teeth and hiss wildly at our children, when we grab them (too tight) and PULL them across the room. When we make a face at them that communicates “Don’t. You. DARE. Or. ELSE.” – we are sometimes struck by the urge to “cover our tracks”.
“Oh, mommy was just whispering because the baby’s asleep.”
“Oops, I didn’t THROW the dish, it just slipped out of my hand.”
“I wasn’t so mad, you’re overreacting, I just didn’t like what you said.”
Us adults are masters of illusion: throw some confetti in the air – *razzle dazzle* them – confuse them out of what they know to be true.
Own Our Mistakes
Today, I want to challenge us all to take the opposite track. It’s far more vulnerable, yes. It’s much harder. And, I believe, much braver.Today, I want to challenge us to OWN OUR MISTAKES. To face our children, look them straight in the eye, and authentically, honestly, painfully and brutally share the truth - which is what they felt anyway.via @ParentingJunkieTweet This
Rather than tricking them out of their feelings, and convincing them that the sense they had – that we were totally out of control and had mightily overstepped – is a silly misunderstanding, due to their immature brains…
Confirm for them, that their intuition is in fact spot on.
“Yes, I was completely out of line. I was out of control and I overreacted.”
“You’re right, I should never have done that. I’m ashamed of how I treated you.”
“What I said is inexcusable and I’m going to make every effort to never treat you that way again. I need to be in charge of staying calm, no matter what you do.”
And thanking them.
“Thank you for helping me grow. Thank you for your feedback, it’s helpful. Thank you for being honest with me, you can always tell me how you feel about me – even when it’s painful.”
I know my son feels safe with me, despite my violent outburst. How do I know? because I’ve asked him. He’s said clearly: “It’s ok. We all get mad sometimes. I understand… I forgive you mum.”
Whilst I’m embarrassed that I did this, I see it as a blessing and a lesson we’ve all learned from… and the closeness, humanity and authenticity of the interactions with my son that followed mean that I wouldn’t take it back, even if I could.
LEAVE A COMMENT!
If you, like me, have had reactions you’re ashamed of – with your kids, your spouse or someone else… help me normalize this for other parents too – by sharing your comment below. Or just give me a “LOVE” in the comments, to show others we can all be accepted and loved, warts and all.
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