“It is ridiculous for you to feel this way; you are acting like a baby.”
“Wait until your father gets home.”
“Your sister would never do this.”
“You never do anything right.”
“You are just like your father.”
“You are staying in your room all day.”
“I am taking all your toys away.”
“You are a bad girl.”
“You will be the death of me yet.”
Ouch. Have you ever said something like this to your child in anger? There are not too many of us that have not said something we regret.
Parenting has many tough moments; it stretches our capacity for patience both physically and mentally.
Just as there are no perfect parents, there are no perfect children and we are often the ones they save their worst behavior for as they feel safe with us.
So, how do we refrain from saying damaging statements in a time of anger? And how do we forgive ourselves if we do?
The first step is becoming aware that statements meant to hurt or shame are not productive. Even if they stop the unwanted behavior for the moment, they lead to problems in the long run. Acknowledging this and wanting to make a change is key. The next step is to anticipate and envision behaviors that push our buttons and to practice behavior and statements that are better for our children and for us.
Acknowledging that we are imperfect and will make mistakes is important. Parenting is one of the most challenging relationships we will have. There are many wonderful moments however, they will be sprinkled with worry, disappointment and anger. Due to the intensity of the emotions that surround us as parents, and the demands placed upon us, this in inevitable. Knowing this and knowing that we will say and do things we regret is important. Learning from those moments and accepting ourselves as Not-So-Perfect Parents is key. After all, when we accept our own imperfections as a parent, it is easier to accept our children’s imperfections and as they are still growing and learning, there will many moments of these to come.
Knowing that we want the best for our children and that we want to be the best parents we can be provides the motivation for us to change and grow. We are a work-in-progress and so are our children. The key is to build a strong foundation for our relationship now and the one to come.