Anyone who’s had kids knows that it's hard to control your emotions sometimes, hell most of the time. Layer in all the new and hard things that you’re learning to do, no roadmap or manual to follow, sleep deprivation, anxiety around are you doing things wrong, thoughts about you as a “bad” parent, and it's a recipe for disaster.
I remember one day driving in the car with the kids. You all know the drill, kids start getting bored, then start whining, then fighting and before you know it a shoe has hit you in the back of the head. All I could think was “What the fuck is going on back there!!!!???”
I snapped, the same tired old clichés started coming out. “If I have to come back there…”
And of course they were scared and were quiet for a while but that wasn’t how I wanted to show up. I was disappointed with myself, I acted worse than them.
Do you find that happens to you?
I do not claim to be a parenting guru, I deal with all the same struggles as any parent when raising my kids. I’ve tried lots of different techniques and methods, I’ve Ferberized (unsuccessfully), I’ve yelled and I’ve even spanked my kids. Each time I tried these methods I felt shame inside, regardless of what may have worked for other people, this wasn’t working for me. I didn’t want to act this way, after many many hours of coaching I realized that I didn’t have to. I have a choice on how I want to show up and behave. I can’t control my children and their tantrums but I sure as hell can control mine.
We’re the parents, it doesn’t mean we have any less challenges, but it does mean that we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard than we hold our children to. Next time listen to how you talk to your kids, are you shaming them, yelling, judging, criticizing?
And ask yourself this question, would you listen to you?
That’s the first thing I do now. Take a pause, look at the situation, take a breath and figure out how I want to act in this given situation. Maybe you do want to yell, maybe you want to show compassion, but choose your actions, don’t just have a tantrum.
You can’t be a parent if you’re acting like a child.