Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What I'm Learning about Being a Parent #2

In my previous post, I wrote about the #1 thing that I've been learning about being a parent, which was to stop trying to teach them something and just be a good role model.

I think the second most important thing is to accept yourself just as you are.  This actually goes back to being a good role model.  We want to be the "perfect" parent for our children, but we are also human beings.  We all make mistakes sometimes.  That's part of life.  How we choose to deal with those so called failures, however, is up to you.

Do you go over the situation over and over again in your head and berate yourself for the errors you made?  Or do you accept the fact that it happened and that you cannot change what's happened already, so forgive yourself and move on?

I think many of us automatically choose option 1, but stop and think for a minute.  If you ever saw your children berating themselves over "mistakes" they've made, how would you feel?  Is this a behavior that you would like to pass on to your children?

I learned this the hard way.  This past summer, my oldest son was sick for a while, and one day, he fell asleep in the middle of the day.  The second he woke up from his nap though, he was in a complete panic.  After I got him to calm down a little, I asked him what happened.  He told me "I get mad at myself when I take a nap because I feel like I wasted my time."

...Ouch!!  What have I been teaching my son?!  Why can't my son relax and rest, even when he's sick?!

It crushed my heart.  I felt absolutely horrible.  I went down the usual path and got angry with myself.  At the time, I was just beginning to learn to accept myself and to take care of my "inner child".  I didn't feel like I deserved to.  I thought if I had been so demanding of my son that he felt he needed to place so much pressure on himself, then I must demand even more from myself.  How could I possibly forgive and accept myself, which to me seemed like giving myself a "free pass" to get away from my mistakes?

The angrier I got with myself though, my fuse grew shorter also.  Worst of all, my son was mirroring my frustration.  He would boss his little sister around and get angry with her over minor things.  I saw myself in him.  And I knew I had to change.

Your children are heavily influenced by your behavior, good or bad.  If you want your children to be loving, kind people, YOU have to be a loving, kind person.  If you want your children to respect themselves, YOU have to respect YOURSELF.

For me, saying affirmations has helped tremendously.  If I'm driving alone, I constantly talk to myself and send loving thoughts to the drivers and pedestrians passing by.  Writing my thoughts out on paper was also very helpful in sorting them out.  Whatever works for you, do it!  And do it right now!  It may feel weird to you at first, but do it for your children.  And eventually, you'll get to a place where you'll just want to do it for yourself.

You deserve to be happy, and the truth is, you can't make anybody else happy if you are not happy with yourself first.

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