Parenting. It comes with no manual, no warnings, only perceptions and experiences from those who are already parents before us, and we are overwhelmed by the advice given to us. There seems to be no paucity to the fearful thoughts that come to us right before we become parents. If you're like me, you think to yourself, "when I have kids, I am not going to do this, or that, and my kids will never go through this or that with me, because I am going to do this or that differently than my parents." And then they arrive. We vow to protect them at all costs, and we soon find ourselves committed (or at least preaching) that every decision and choice we make is for them. Is it really? Could it be possible we become addicted to discipline out of our own self-created fears? Are we reaching a point of observing it is time to change the entire paradigm of parenting, for the actual betterment of our kids? Don't get it twisted; we CAN become blinded by the idealistic, self-inflicted expectations that we end up damaging our own children in the process. Afterall, if they cannot find safety, security, and love with us, where will they go out to seek it? And then, when they do venture off to seek it, we criticize their very actions that are only a result of our own negligence. So, are we truly as parents on a roll, in damaging our children, or honor roll quality parenting?
From my own experience as a child and into my teenage years, I got used to hearing "no" followed by an explanation as narrow as "because I said so." In turn, this allowed me to question my own father (in my head because I wouldn't dare question him to his face), "am I not worthy of an explanation? Or a conversation?" The more frequent this went on, the more my brain was trained to think and then believe, that I was indeed not worthy of getting an explanation. As a result, as a young adult, any time I went for a new job, or role in a group, if I got a "no," I simply accepted it and walked away. If I was dumped by a boyfriend, or cheated on, I wouldn't dare ask why. After all, I didn't need an explanation because I was never worthy of one. (Or so my brain was nurtured to believe).
Our intentions as parents can be to the utmost greatest and good but no matter how good the intentions, the disciplining can leave our kids feeling attacked, hurt, abandoned, or even alone. Far too many times we focus on what our children are not doing, and fail to question or discuss with them the reasons behind why they are not doing it. For example, say you ask your daughter to come home by 11 PM and she arrives 30 minutes late. Our automatic parenting protocol is, "she is late, she disobeyed me, and she must be punished." Instead, can we as parents ask ourselves, "what was the intent behind my curfew?" Let's be real....IT IS POWER OF CONTROL. This post isn't about undermining any parent for their ways of parenting. Who the eff would I be kidding as I have been a parent for only 16 years and I am still learning as we speak! This is about getting us to think, reevaluate, have a safe and open dialogue, and most importantly HEAL, so that our children don't need to heal as adults.
From my own experience, FEAR is the number one cause of all the bickering between my children and myself. Have you heard of EMOTIONAL BLACKMAILING? It is a thing! And how disgusting it is to use it on our own children. They want to hang out with friends and we sit here and make them feel like they are a terrible human for wanting to do so. They skip school and stay home because they feel ill, and later want to go to a friends house. Here we come making them feel like they are liars for "tricking" us that they were sick. Then the ego comes in whispering sweet bs into our ears that we are pathetic for falling for their lies, when in turn, maybe, just MAYBE, there is a possibility that they were indeed sick and now they feel better. How about being grateful that they feel better? Are we creating rules in our minds and applying them to our parenting, when there really is no need for them? Are we bringing in the same baggage of trauma, we so wouldn't accept from a life partner, into our parenting? Most children don't realize that they trigger in us trauma from our own past. Why do we continue to parent them as if they are us? We once vowed to not make them go through what we did, and yet we do it over and over again. We resent our own parents, yet apply their ways in our parenting. Some of this may hit the nail on the head, and some might not land for you at all. Regardless of which, reflect on your parenting, your relationship to your children, and ask yourself one question: "Am I on a roll with sabotaging my child with my parenting, or am I honor roll quality parenting?"