3 Reasons Parents Forget How Awesome Their Kid Is
Confession:. I do stupid things. To include frequency, I do stupid things often. No, actually, more than often. I do stupid things everyday, often multiple times in a day.
Simple and obviously stupid things like:
Roll my eyes at comments I think are dumb,or
Ask my wife where such and such is before trying to look, or
Getting a speeding ticket…in a school zone, or
Read something on my phone while my kids talks to me, or
Read something on my phone while my wife talks to me, or
Discipline my child out of an emotional reaction (instead of a thoughtful response), or
Flip the bird to that jerk who won’t let me in on the highway…with my kids in the car…
It’s not something I’m proud of or enjoy talking about, but the good news is that making mistakes and doing stupid things is part of being human. We have to learn and some of the best learning comes at the cost of screwing up. It reminds me of a quote by Danish physicist Niels Bohr, “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made…in a narrow field.”
The Stupidest Thing I Do
And that may very well be one of the most important things I need to remember, that expertise comes from and through making mistakes, from doing stupid things.
One of the most stupid things I do, however (that doesn’t make me an expert in anything except being stupid), is forgetting how awesome my kids are.
I lose sight of that time and time again and the worst part about that is it’s super easy to defend because they act so dumb sometimes! Holy schmoly! Dumb things like:
- Roll their eyes at something dumb I do, or
- Ask their mom where such and such is without looking first, or
- Get a bad grade…for being lazy, or
- Keep watching television while I try talking to them, or
- Punch their sibling out of an emotional reaction (instead of a thoughtful response), or
- Flip the bird to that kid on the playground who said their stupid
Or any one of a hundred other the things I do that drive me crazy! Add them up and it’s so easy to lose sight of how awesome they are.
And I know it’ll get better. I know they’ll learn.
What’s a parent to do!?
But until then, am I to ‘try harder’ or ‘parent better’ or ‘discipline more’ to help them figure that out?
Yes, to all of the above.
I think that parents (like anything) should strive to improve their parenting.
And that’s why it’s so painful to realize that when I stop defending the reason why I forget how awesome my kids are, I realize it’s entirely on me. There is nothing that my kids do or say or write that causes me to forget that, I simply have a lot more mistakes to make before I am a expert at avoiding it.
But why is this so important to me? Why is it important that I not lose sight of that?
Because when I do, I discipline from an unhealthy place. I discpline from a place of emotional discontent and visible frustration. My kids can see it in my eyes and I can see that they can see it in theirs. My wife, then, has the unfortunate task of helping me see my reaction was probably more hurtful than helpful.
Ask yourself these questions and then try to do something with the answers:
- Where do I know I fail as a parent?
- Who in my life has authority to let me know when I am failing as a parent?
- What changes can I make to be a better parent?
Self reflection is rarely fun. But like parenting, while it’s not meant to be, it can be if we’ll embrace it.