Letting go of parental perfection opens one to a real relationship with one’s child
Letting go of parental perfection opens one to a real relationship with one’s child.
Sometimes it is so hard to be a parent. Some of my worst moments are when I realise that I have been repeating something that my parents or even a teacher did to me with my children that I PROMISED myself never, ever to do...
I know that when I do that I have not intended to do a bad thing – but rather I have found myself through thoughtlessness, exhaustion, anxiety (the list goes on) doing what I know is not positive for my children. I am human...I am human...I am human...and very flawed.
Perfection is not possible...but the intention to be aware of what I do is. Also it is possible to work on knowing myself better. It is no good me simply wanting to do better and making resolutions (well it can be a bit in some things – I decided never to smack my children and I simply did not allow myself to hurt them physically. Sometimes I could feel my hand rising to strike...after all I had been spanked as a child so it is bred into me - but I simply refused to allow that.)
But – oh dear – I said I would not shout – and I have not managed that. Yes, not often and I always apologised quickly and explained that although they behaved badly I should have talked quietly to them about what they did, and not shout.
I promised never to belittle my children. I have never done it with words. BUT I ask myself...have I done it in other ways. Not believing in them and what they can do. Rushing to help them when they are busy managing on their own? Rushing to put on their shoes for them because I am in a hurry – which says clearly to a child you are slow and bad at putting on shoes...
I have realised that it is a process. A process of understanding myself and processing my own difficulties and ‘toxic’ parts so that they become benign to my children. A process of thoughtfulness – thinking before I speak, thinking where my children are emotionally – and where I am so that I can apply present knowledge of a particular time, a particular child, a particular situation rather than ancient received ‘knowledge’ or a blunt instrument type of reaction to my children. (And sadly, I often fail)
What IS really important is holding myself to this process, holding myself open to my children and to learning more about me (never mind how horrified it sometimes makes me feel...) Letting go of parental perfection opens one to a real relationship with one’s child.
Failures in my parenting they can hopefully use to grow rather than failures which bind them and prevent their blossoming and will take much less time on the couch to sort out!