Being a good mom or dad does not mean being a perfect mom or dad.
Repeat after me… “I have kids and that means I will make mistakes but I will do everything in my power to learn from them to be a better person and not spend my whole life justifying them instead.”
Now, one more thing… repeat after me… “I’m sorry.”
These are two of the most difficult things for a parent to do or say. Not because we consciously think about it but because it is difficult to live with the burden of guilt over decisions gone bad, choices that were not the best (but was the best we could do at that time with the knowledge we had) and busy schedules that have our lives moving at a faster pace than what we can actually keep up. If we never slow down to acknowledge any of these then it is easy to fall into the “not my fault” zone.
Kids are a product of their environment
They learn something every day they open their eyes. The tricky part is a child can see when something is right or wrong even if the parent can not. Their vision is, for the most part, much clearer than the parents. What causes a child to choose to do something wrong is not that they just want to be mean or break something or lie to us. It is something much deeper rooted than that. They have been hurt or treated in the same way and it takes away their innocence. Their innocence is their virtue and their want/need to do the right thing, like their marvel heroes and lone rangers in their fantasy worlds. We teach them early in life by reading fairy tales to them and telling them stories that seem to always have a hero and a villain. Bottom line is that if we are not the hero anymore because we are doing things that are wrong or bad in front of them then we must be the villain and then what path do you think they will choose?
Kids give what they Get
If a mom, or dad, is a saint and never speaks harshly, never lies, steals or cheats but their child grows up and is on drugs, steals, lies and may even be violent people like to say “oh that one was just a bad apple.”I say something happened when that child was growing up that demoralized him/her. Does their parent actually talk to them or at them? There is a difference. Did their parents use positive reinforcement or did they try to break the child’s will to make them do right? Did they have time for their child while they were so busy trying to be a great person and helping all others around them? Over and over again through out the sands of time the families around the “Great Ones” are paid a very high price for them to be “Great.”
Children really only need a few things from us to be happy and healthy mentally:
- Our unconditional love – no if, and or but… only constant show of love.
- Our time – one on one.
- Our trust – in order to achieve trust it must be earned not just by the child but also by the parent.
Unconditional Love is something that holds friendships together for a lifetime even if whether friends see each other daily or not once in 40 years. It holds together marriages that could’ve ended 20 times over some very serious issues. It’s the love that says I don’t care what you do or how bad you mess up I am here for you. Now what happens when you say “If you do that again I am done with you”….? You just lost it. Gone Forever. You will never again get that level of trust and belief back. There are no conditions with unconditional love. Period. It’s about never giving up on them. It’s about being their strength when they are weak. It’s about standing behind their decisions knowing you will also pay the price for it with them. You do not have to turn your back on your child to teach them a lesson or punish them EVER. And to act surprised later when that child turns their back on you as a result is the definition of insanity in its truest form.
Do you possibly think that just being under the same roof, cooking, cleaning and mowing the yard or watching TV is having time with your kids? I got news for you it is NOT. You can be standing 1 foot away from your child and still not really be there for your child. Our minds get on overload and we have 15 other things we either want to do or think we need to be doing. Our worries and concerns in our daily lives take our minds far far away.
The simplest act of interaction on a one on one basis, such as drawing a picture, coloring a picture or tying a special knot in a piece of rope, can give your child what they need. Something that simple. As long as you do it with love and patience and show that child your 100% full attention for that couple minutes. You would be shocked at how happy and fulfilling it makes the child. They are not complicated. They don’t need drugs to focus. They need you to focus, really focus and see them, be with them, need it just as bad as they need you. Have a game night and play board games with your kids and family. You will be surprised how much fun it can be and the rewards will keep coming for years to come!
The tragedy with our generation of kids and all the drug addictions, I believe, has much to do with both parents working and children being treated like cattle. How many children lay their heads down on their pillows at night and never once that day got a personal, warm, full of feelings and emotions hug and at least a 5 minute conversation about what was important to them that day? I guarantee the number is in the millions every day. It is a tragedy and it is playing a huge role in our changing society.
You must first be trusted to be trustworthy. Think about it. If you never trust your kids then they never know what it feels like to be trustworthy. If they never feel that then why would they care what it feels like and want to be trustworthy? “Expect the worst and hope for the best”… how many people have trained themselves to think this way in a feeble attempt to protect themselves from being hurt or disappointed? Lots! Kids need expectations. They need us as parents to believe and trust in them. Without it they have no boundaries and no reason to care about it. It’s like a wife accusing a husband of cheating over and over again… if the husband really is not cheating he starts to think he may as well be because he’s constantly being reprimanded for the crime… and if he’s going to wear the name he may as well be playing the game… same concept when a child is constantly accused of being a certain way or accused of doing something. It takes their want/need to be good away. I’m not saying this applies to every child/person out there but I am saying it does for a majority.
It’s Never too Late
Adults carry with them all their childhood experiences. They may spend their whole lives trying to achieve their parents’ approval and acknowledgement, or, they may swing in the opposite direction and never care about it again. I have seen and experienced it personally and it causes you to feel like you live in a glass house. You will constantly strive to do better because of it. It is a drive deep inside you to do better, try harder and set higher goals. The sad part is that if it is never “good enough” for that parent, that you are looking for approval by, then you will lose your way and stumble. That parent that shows negativity in every conversation, no matter how good you do, will start to cause your mind to do one of two things… 1) give up on yourself… or 2) give up on them. Either one will tear you apart on the inside and either make you a stronger person for it or it, if you let it, it will break you.
The Domino Affect
One act of kindness causes another to follow. One act of negativity causes another to follow. You can not achieve a positive result if you don’t use positive methods. If a parent uses negativity to make their child do what they are supposed to then yes, the chore or action may be accomplished, but that does not mean it is a successful method. When you enforce your rules with a heavy hand or extreme conditions, for example take everything they value away from them, you are trying to break their spirit and bend their will to give into yours. You have now turned it into a power play and not a lesson on learning to be a good person. What do you think you are really teaching them? Let’s say your child won’t clean their room so you clean it for them and as punishment you take all their things away, pack it up and keep it for a while thinking that’ll teach ’em not to listen to you… what you really taught them is that you believe the act of them cleaning their room is more important to you than their love and respect because what you just did does not deserve respect. You turned it into a pissing contest instead of a lesson. It was you acting out of anger and not knowing what to do so well, let’s just do this. The child will eventually expect to have nothing and adjust to having nothing and then what will you do? What will you threaten to do? And what will your child’s next move be? This is a domino affect. Your actions will cause them to react, adjust and learn from everything you do. If you are hateful and/or disrespect to them and treat them like they have no rights other than the rights you give them then they will evolve and make it their goal in life to show you just how strong they can be… or maybe you will break their spirit they will run away and give up on you all together… or maybe they will give up on themselves and end their own life because you are the center of their world and they feel they have no world without you in it and you just turned your back on them and took their world away with you.
A Child’s Emotions and Feeling are Much Stronger than Adults
When an adult says they’re angry, yes they may see red and rant and rave and even throw a fit about whatever it is that’s got them upset. A child does not just see red and get over it. A child will act on it. If a child thinks they are going to get in trouble for something their first instinct is to lie because they don’t want to feel like all the good no longer counts and only that 1 bad thing will exist and they will consider themselves a bad kid instantly and the world is coming to an end. An adult may get their feelings hurt but it won’t be the first time and it won’t be the last so adults get over it quicker but a child feels things so much stronger that they may harbor and carry those hurt feelings over that event or experience for the rest of their lives and never let it go.
This is the reason it is so very important to pay attention to your children and the changes you see happening to them. If you see a change in your child’s temperament, actions or emotions you need to dig a little deeper, ask a lot of questions and show you care enough to figure out what is causing it because there is something causing it. It may be an easy fix now but if gone unchecked it may affect their life for years to come.
Say “I’m sorry” when you feel like you are…
If you don’t ever say “I’m sorry” then you are one of those parents that are justifying all that you do and no matter what justifications you can come up with you know when you hurt your children whether it be on the inside emotionally or on the outside physically Learn to say that you are sorry for hurting them. Learn to tell them when you think you may have acted a little too extreme. Don’t be scared to show weakness and compassion. And make sure they know that just because you are saying that you are sorry for the way it may have been handled that you don’t support that kind of behavior and you expect better from them because you believe in them. You believe in their inner strength as a little person with their own will to do what is right. They need you to believe in them, they need you to show those feelings and they need your compassion every day of their lives.
I am not a doctor but I am a mom and I’ve been a mom for 27 year 3 times over. These are my opinions and lessons learned from my own experiences in this life. I sincerely hope it helps other to see a different way of interpreting our childrens’ actions both good and bad.
Our children really are our future and when you get older and look back on the good, bad and ugly it will make you feel like it’s too late to do anything about it but I’m here to tell you… IT IS NEVER TOO LATE to try to fix something from your past.
“Cleaning up your past will always clean up your future”
I hope you have an enlightening day and remember to ask your child how their day was and give them a long, loving, sincere hug! 🙂
Bye for now,