Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Things I Need to Work on as a Parent

This transcript of a Janet Lansbury podcast resonated deeply with me about the importance of not disciplining with shame. 

It's been a hard five years for my parenting. Trying to launch a non-profit organization with a newborn and a two year-old stretched me in ways that made me unrecognizable to myself at times. There were so many compounding factors: Henry's struggle with self-regulation due to an MTHFR genetic mutation, unfathomable levels of work stress, my own sense of struggle and failure in my work. 

I've been too quick to get frustrated with my children's behavior. Here are the lines that resonated with me the most:
He’s in a defensive mode. He feels attacked. He feels judged. He feels misunderstood. And he probably has some shame inside, because that’s the result of feeling blamed and not understood.
Do this with confident momentum. Do this with acceptance of him, being on his side and being protective, caring about him, not angry with him.
This also comes from understanding that children don’t want to be doing this. They don’t want to be the bad kid doing bad things. We need to help save him from himself and not let him go there. And shaming him out of it will not work. It just creates more discomfort and, therefore, more uncomfortable behavior.
And then from his mom, she says she admits she loses her cool and she doesn’t respond with love and empathy. So those are the messages he’s gotten, You’re bad. There’s something wrong with you. I don’t like the way you’re behaving, slam the door.
We foster empathy by modeling and having empathy. That’s the simple answer to all of this, not necessarily a lot of empathy in those moments but having an overall view guided by empathy, by wanting to understand, wanting to relate to, be close to, open up to. 
This article gives me a clear sense of the kind of parent I want to be. I want to have high expectations and boundaries, but I really do want it to feel like it comes from being on their side. And I want mistakes to be expected and normal and to feel like genuine learning opportunities, not moments of shame.

Toward that end, I have to give myself grace for the five years. I did the best that I was capable of, and now I can do better. That's all we can ask of ourselves.

Share |

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails