I think having a child is one of the hardest things in life – knowing how to raise them, deal, in a good way, with their sometimes difficult behavior, and maintain a good relationship with them through to adulthood, sometimes seems impossible when you’re in the thick of it with toddlers or even pre-teens/teenagers. Being a parent is hard, I was reminded of this fact these last few days – maybe the weather change, or maybe the excitement from knowing Christmas is closing in, had my 3-year-old upping his tantrum-mania anytime we went out.
Obviously, it’s best to stay calm in any situation, but it’s understandable when it’s been their 5th tantrum of the day, or when they try to hit you with their little plastic golf club, that you can make the mistake of losing it & screaming at them. For me, I truly have to remind myself to stay calm, have clear expectations beforehand, and carry-out the discipline already decided in the calmest manner I can conjure. This of course, doesn’t always happen, but it is our go-to for dealing with the normal tantrums & chaos that children are known to do. I try to keep in mind the kind of man I’m raising, the character I want him to have. Feeling like his success wholly depends on you, however, can also put too much pressure on your parenting needing to be “perfect,” leading you to feel massive amounts of anxiety that you’re failing your children, when in reality, they are just kids who sometimes behave difficult.
If you do make a mistake, punish the wrong child for something they didn’t do, overreact and lose your temper, you need to admit your mistake to your child/children. They will love you so much more knowing that you have the character to be able to do this.
I love Elaine St. James’ words on this topic,
Children need to see that it’s natural to make mistakes from time to time. The last thing you want is a child who is unable to own up to the fact that she was wrong. If you’re trying to teach your kids to be open-minded and responsible for their actions, you must demonstrate this behavior yourself. How better to learn than from a parent?
Some parents believe their authority will be undermined or that it’s a sign of weakness if they allow themselves to be swayed or to admit they’ve been wrong. With others it’s often a false notion of how a parent should behave, or simply bad judgement. Whatever the cause, you’re doing a disservice to our children by taking this position.