I’ve had a recent revelation about parenting and its completely changed my entire perspective on how I approach Eliana. It’s funny because its so simple, and yet, the simplicity of it, is what has caused us to overlook it.
It’s my opinion, that parents these days try too hard.
Please note the words MY and OPINION. I am not a parenting expert and being that I have only been on the job for roughly 17 months I still have a lot to learn, but I still have my opinions and we are all entitled to them. So, yes, I think parents try too hard. They are either trying too hard to TEACH them everything under the sun so they can show the world how they have created midget-Einstein-genius-freaks or they are trying too hard to please them in effort to keep them in a 24/7 blissed-out coma. Either way, I think their heart is in the right place and they mean well, but its not a style of parenting I personally want to adopt (although I am guilty of doing both).
My recent parental awareness, shall we say, came from one simple little word: kindness.
Which, you might be thinking hmmm how odd. Kindness? Yes, you heard me right, kindness. It’s not something that I believe parents think about all too often when it comes to their kids. For the most part we try to spend our days loving them, disciplining them, providing for them and caring for them, but showing them kindness? For me at least, it wasn’t really on my radar.
And then I really started thinking about it. And thinking about it. And thinking some more and more and just a little bit more. I thought about it so much that I eventually became consumed by it and now I can’t turn it off. This idea/concept/notion/ideaology/theory of showing your children kindness has totally enraptured me and I feel like I have found the giant golden key of how to raise children without losing your mind and going gray before 30.
For awhile now, I have had to watch myself become consumed with anger towards my child when she does something repetitively disobedient or just plain annoying (i.e. playing with the water in the toilet?!?!?! YUCKY!!). As a new parent to a toddler, I can’t tell you the amount of times I tell her daily to NOT do something. It becomes exhaustive physically, emotionally and mentally. I catch myself getting angry at her just because I don’t think she is listening, when the reality is she is listening, but her brain is only 17 months old and therefore she is responding accordingly.
So, my approach now is to not get angry. Anger solves nothing. All it does is make me more angry and it totally ruins my day. Since I am the adult in the situation, its up to me to control my emotions and respond in-kind to Eliana. Regardless of what she is doing behavior wise she does not deserve my anger. Not only does she not deserve it, she doesn’t understand it. If I go AWOL because she dipped her hand in the toilet water for the 10th time all she sees is pSycho mommy losing it. She doesn’t understand yet that its gross and dirty and yucky and disgusting and horrific. Her beautiful eyes focus in on that giant bowl of water and it might as well have a flashing neon sign that says, “PLAY WITH ME!!”.
Therefore, my new approach is to continue educating her and instructing her accordingly so she does eventually learn to NOT play with the toilet water, but I do it without the anger and frustration. I steal myself for 5 seconds before opening my mouth, whenever I catch her doing something inappropriate, and I come to her in kindness. I correct the behavior and encourage her to play elsewhere. If it is something more extreme like hitting or throwing an object at another child, I do the same thing. I ALWAYS come to her in kindness.
Don’t get me wrong here though. I am not raising my child to be a pansy. My desire is to raise a child who understands their actions, recognizes the need for discipline, accepts it, corrects it and moves on from it, but all the while knowing that I love her. You cannot lovingly correct a child’s behavior when you come to them in anger. I am sorry, but you can’t.
My biggest desire out of parenting is to raise children who are secure in who they are, know that they are loved beyond measure and that they can do NOTHING and I mean NOTHING to ever lose my love. I don’t want them to run to outsiders or friends when they have serious problems, because they fear my anger at their choices or mistakes. I want them to feel safe and secure in my love, but also know without a doubt that they will deal with the appropriate consequences for their actions.
But, it will not make me love them any less. No matter what.
After scrounging the internet on things relating to kindness, I came across a myriad of quotes that really sum it all up for me. And I really think if we just stop trying so hard to teach them everything, if we stop trying so hard to make them happy, if we stop trying so hard to please them and instead start showing them our loving-kindness then maybe they will respond in-kind.
– AMELIA EARHART, Magic City Morning Star, Jun. 1, 2005
– ERIC HOFFER, Power Quotes to Energize Your Life
– ALBERT SCHWEITZER, Michael Ruge’s Quote-a-Quote