There are two ways to raise children. With your eyes wide open or eyes wide shut. Personal awareness and not only awareness of your child is a considerable challenge when you are a parent but one that is worth changing if you want to see positive change in them.
A few weeks ago I was in a restaurant, my almost 3 years old daughter was playing with a little boy. Suddenly he hit her. His mother turned red, grabbed him and spanked him. As much as I didn’t like him hitting my child I thought: “How can this young man learn that he shouldn’t hit anybody if he is hit by his own mother as a punishment.” My second thought was. “I am not sure this simple idea has ever crossed this young woman’s mind.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming her. We are all the same, good at giving lessons but not very good at following them. But in such an obvious situation who could deny it? It makes sense, don’t hit your children if you don’t want them to hit their peers or anyone else.
It’s not because you don’t hit them that they won’t ever hit anyone. I personally have never hit my own daughter but I have seen her strike out at others. But at least you will be coherent in your message if you don’t hit them and that’s what children need. You can be a little crazy, but coherently crazy is important.
Most of the time we complain about our children’s behavior or stress out because of it. But their behavior doesn’t come out of the blue. Maybe we should question our own behaviors before we punish theirs. Let’s be honest, dogs don’t make cats. Most of the time when our kids push our buttons it’s just because we share the same remote control. Your child can’t sleep at night, eat as if he had a membership in a zoo, doesn’t respect any rule, is a poor thing afraid of everything… Don’t blame him/her, blame yourself. Because if you are the one bothered by their actions it is probably because it partially comes from you.
For the last few months, I feel that I am fighting too much with my son. And so does he! Last time he told me I wasn’t funny enough. I think he was right. I am reacting, not acting most of the time. Thinking more of what I want him to be than modeling it for him. Now I just keep his insight in my mind as an internal voice, and it helps.
When I am more relaxed he is more relaxed. We all know that our state of mind rubs off on the people around us, obviously if I am taut as a bow, so the arrow goes!
The bottom line is we need to take more responsibility for our children’s actions. They are not external to us, they are a projection of us. Blaming them is just another way of being more separated from them. It is better to be auto-critical every time we feel we are struggling than blame them entirely.
Albert Einstein, who it is fair to say had a certain wisdom, is often recognized as the author of two comments which combine to make a powerful parenting tip. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” and, “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”.
So when things don’t turn out the way you want with your children, don’t try to fix them, fix yourself first!