Separate conversation…H-I tried my best. Me-no you did not. If that’s your best then we need to have a talk. H-great…now I’m the bad guy.
I want nothing more in this world than for my daughters to grow up happy, confident, educated, strong, loved and thinking they have the most wonderful parents, family and friends in the whole world. But, I also want them to grow up with manners, discipline and to show respect to the people they should.
For as many funny and sweet things they say or do, there are at least twice as many moments where they can be downright awful (like any kids can be). The thing I’m hardest on myself about as a parent is how I react to them (or overreact) and what kind of an impact that will have on them as they grow up. I know personally, for me, I never wanted to disappoint my parents. It was never that I was scared of them, it’s just that they did a very good job of letting me know what their expectations of me where and I never wanted to break that trust. I didn’t always succeed, but it set the tone. That and my mom’s big wooden paddle.
Now, I’m admittedly harder on myself than I should be and that’ll probably never change, but every once in a while I have a parenting epiphany that really turns things around for me. Fresh off the heels of a “discipline session” that saw both girls in bed very early one night, I sat on the couch trying to figure out if it was me being a giant a-hole and too quick to yell at them or if they were actually that bad and just deserved to hit the hay 30 minutes earlier than normal. It was probably a little bit of both, but the part that bothered me was all the yelling and if it affects their confidence and how they view me. (see I told you I think too much)
Then it hit me. The reason I get so upset with them is because I know they’re capable of being better. Their past behavior has totally shaped the way I think about how they should behave all the time. When they’re good, it is so amazing and fun, that it sets the bar pretty high for how I think they should always behave. Yes, I understand they are kids and they’re going to have bad days and good days, but I know that they’re capable of delivering more good than bad and that’s what I want to see from them. Is that unfair? Yes, 100% unfair, but that’s how I’ve been viewing it.
Ultimately I decided to work this into the discipline process. To let them know that their bad behavior, attitude or whatever upsets me and causes me to yell, because I expect more from them. That they are great kids, they just weren’t acting like it at the time. I’m hoping this approach lets them know they are not bad girls, they just made a bad choice and they’ll try to be better. Like I expect them to be. Fingers crossed. We shall see.