I am no saint. I do make mistakes even though I have shared some parenting tips on how to raise children.
I am proud to admit that I have flaws and I know I have to confront them.
This post helps me stare my weaknesses in the face. Experts say if you want to be a better person, you can’t run away or being ignorant about them.
It is true that any form of relationship will reflect back to you the kind of person that you are. You can see clearly the areas where you need to work on and improve.
This is the biggest parenting challenge for me. I get agitated easily if the child is disobedient. We expect them to listen to what we say. Do what we want them to do.
But what am I thinking?
Each child is different with his own desires, needs, and preferences. Who am I to expect them to listen to me? Children also need the freedom to express themselves as much as adults do.
Whenever it happens, I try hard to clam myself down. Frankly, I have not mastered the skills that Zen masters have. I am still learning. However, one of the most effective ways is to treat my children as someone’s children. I don’t know about you, I find we tend to treat children other than ours more gently, less harsh.
Another technique I learned from Screamfree Parenting is if I get angry when my child does something that irritates me, it is MY responsibility to remain calm – not the child. I should take charge of my own emotions and feelings – not the child. I am the one to blame if I lose my cool – not the child. I should feel shameful if I get angry out of the kids. After all, the only thing that is within our control is me – not the child.
I recently tried another method to keep my insanity. Imagine this: when you are with your friend or better with your boss, you can keep your cool to a level you can’t imagine. You won’t get angry at them so easily. You tend not to be so uptight about things. But the opposite happens when you are with your children or your spouse. You get agitated easily even they make a small mistake. It’s funny, we treat outsiders better than our own family members.
Try this next time (me included), just pretend your child is your boss. Swallow your pride and ego. Control your emotions. Contain your anger when he gets in your way. Laugh away any silliness your child has created. Look at things at a broader perspective. It has helped me someway to clam down by doing this.
Helpful resource: Anger Management: Avoid Anger at Home With These Six Tips
#2: Yelling at my children
This is relevant to #1. When I get angry, I tend to scream. I can’t talk calmly. I know this is bad. Sometimes you just can’t control and do things you don’t like doing. By yelling, I think the children will listen to me. But unfortunately, the opposite is true. They will shut you down and what you say will go down the drain.
Conclusion: Yelling is not an effective way to raise obedient children. Instead talk to them calmly is the only way. What’s worse, I notice J has picked up this habit from me. She sometimes screams at K or even mommy when she gets angry. This is not a good example I have set for children.
Helpful resource: The Three-Word Strategy That Diffuses Any Tension With Your Child
#3: Five-minute syndrome
Whenever I am working at home and K asks me to spend time with him, my auto-reflexive answer is “Give me 5 minutes.” But the 5 minutes will never come. When 5 minutes have passed, I ask for another 5 minutes. K sometimes gets mad at me for not keeping my promise. I am guilty of spending too much time on work in the expense of family time. You are right. Even though I work from home, I make the same mistake as other working parents. Shame on me.
Helpful resource: Six Easy Ways To Find Quality Time For Your Children And Family
#4: Focus on things, not persons
When thing goes wrong, somehow I automatically blame the person who did it. For example, when the child messes up the floor, the first thing I do is to put the blame on the kid. I put priority on the wrong thing – clean floor. On the other hand I should focus on the child. I must talk in a calm manner and teach the poor kid how to clean up the place – rather than scolding the kid.
We should appreciate people more than things. Why so? Because for a simple reason: people are more important than inanimate things. People have feelings and emotions. They need love and care.
#5: Act according to my wish
On many occasions, I want my children to do and say the things I want. For example: “Go to bed now.” “Eat this veggie. It’s good for you.” “Do as I said.” “Wear this color.” “Don’t do that and if you do, it makes me angry.” “Don’t play there. It’s dirty.” “Share your favorite toy.”
Chances are I almost forget my child is also human; he is not a pet. He has his own feelings and preferences. He likes to explore and experience. Just because I gave birth to him, that doesn’t mean I have absolute right to impose my wishes on him. I sometimes fall into the trap of controlling too much what and how things should be as far as the child is concerned.
You might not share with me these parenting sins. But everyone has got his share of challenges. We have lessons to learn here. Regardless of what they are, the ultimate goal is empowerment and absolute freedom.