Thursday, August 17, 2006

On the value of "losing it"

We have all read the parenting books. We all have made promises to ourselves about what kind of parent we are going to be. If we are foster parents have official training.

And some days we are going to do it all wrong.

Hopefully on those days we will manage to save ourselves from violence and insult.

But maybe not. We might even hear ourselves saying, "Yeah? Well I hate you too!" We might even say something worse.

So what do we do next? How do we handle that moment?

I have a theory that those moments, when they come, are wonderful teaching opportunities.

See, our kids are going to have bad days too. Our kids are going to loose their tempers and behave badly. So how would we like them to handle those moments? Do we want them to beat themselves up about it? Or do we want them to move through it and take responsibility for what they have done?

So when we have one of those days when the kid just would not get out of bed and off to school and we yelled and told them that if they did not get their little butts out the door we were going to take away every one of their favorite toys and throw them out of the window, or when they whined and begged for everything in the store until we found ourselves telling them that they were spoiled little brats and they had better just shut up, what should we do?

My recommendation is that we first figure out why we are this frazzled. Are we tired? Hungry? Stressed? What do we need to do to take care of ourselves? Calling a friend and venting or asking them to watch our kids while we take a nap or get out for a while might be exactly what we need. Then I think we should say to the kids, "Hey, I'm sorry for yelling at you like that. Though it is your job to get yourself out of bed in the morning, and we will talk about that more, you did not deserve to be yelled at. I should have handled it better. I'm sorry."

One of the things we need to teach our children is how to take responsibility, forgive ourselves, and apologize. And the best way to teach anything is by example.

1 comment:

Comments will be open for a little while, then I will be shutting them off. The blog will stay, but I do not want either to moderate comments or leave the blog available to spammers.