Saturday, August 21, 2010

parenting with fear

the other day josh made me so angry.
he was crying and fussing over his homework.
(we are only on day 3 of homework, let me remind you.)

he sat at the table for what seemed like eternity, crying and crying, while i tried to busy myself in the kitchen.
i tried to do anything else i possibly could to try and ignore him and force him to work on his own.

but the crying, the fussing, the whining...oh it was getting to me.
i was losing it.

finally, i snapped. i rushed over to him, grabbed his arm hard, and very angrily told him to knock it off and finish his work.

what got into me?
how could i possibly think i was helping him by doing that??

of course, we all know that i wasn't doing that to help him. i was doing it to help me.

the one thing i remember perfectly clear was how he looked back at me while i was yelling. he looked at me in FEAR.

after i had cooled down, i thought about what had just happened and how i reacted so foolishly.
did i want to parent my children with fear?
did i want them to feel afraid of me and afraid to tell me things?
did i want them to see me out of control like that?
no, no and no.

so i apologized. right then and there.
i got down to his level. i told him i was very sorry for acting like that.
i told him that i wasn't mad at him for wanting to play video games or watch tv.
that i was angry that his attitude towards school was so poor.
i told him that i wanted him to try harder and without the bad attitude.
that i loved him so much. always.
that i needed him to try harder and i would also try harder.

it was hard to do. but it fixed everything.
he worked for the next hour diligently. there was minimal attitude.
and i felt so much relief.

it is so hard to have self-control all the time, and we, as parents, will make mistakes.
big ones.
but if we are willing to apologize, even to our children, imagine the lessons they can learn from that.

4 comments:

Kylie Mc said...

thank u so much for your honesty. even the best of parents have weak moments and lose their cool. i am no exception. and although i am not proud to admit to ever losing my cool, the few times that i have i did exactly what you did. i got down at my son's level, apologized, explained why i got so frustrated, and talked about what he and i need to work on. i have the same thought as you. if i can admit my mistake and give a sincere apology, perhaps he will learn a good life lesson from me. great post that i'm sure many of us parents can relate to! :)

jaybriggs said...

Amy, you're a good parent. My mom would have just said, 'Where's my belt'. Homework done.

Anonymous said...

I admire your forthrightness and your sincere response to your child! You set such an important expample for him to know that you are human, therefore flawed, but more importantly, you apologized and "problem solved" by talking it over with your son. You just "raised the bar" in your relationship with him as well as presented a tutorial for all of your readers--bet you thought you were just sharing an experience, huh!Good job! Bennett's Grammy

Anonymous said...

Hey Ame...I Love you girl! I can relate...& I love it that you are for real :) kiddos need to know that we aren't perfect, but how do we handle ourselves when we mess up (which seems to be often for me this summer).
P.S. Love the Jeep :)...just saw a VW convertible 2day & told Bri to start saving so she can cart her momma @ in one of those someday...but not too soon! <3 ya Kel