Thankfully, increasing numbers of parents are moving away from the ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ approach to child-raising.
But, especially when we feel close to losing our cool with them, or actually have, it can still easy to make unrealistic demands on our kids… and ourselves!
Because the bottom line is, emotionally-regulated children need emotionally-regulated grown-ups.
This can be a challenge for all of us at some point. I have no problem saying it out loud that, despite all I know, I get into conflict with my son fairly regularly.
IMO, it serves nobody to hold ourselves to impossibly high standards. It’s one of the reasons that, while I think the philosophies of gentle or peaceful parenting etc., are bang-on, I don’t wholly subscribe to them.
Too many parents that try to live by them tell me how guilty they end up feeling because they can’t achieve calm, connected parenting 100% of the time.
Don’t get me wrong. I think we should absolutely strive to be the ‘best’ parent we can.
However, I also don’t think it’s particularly honest to raise our kids to believe that losing your composure isn’t just a normal, natural human behaviour…
So during those moments when your kids test your patience; they’ve lost the plot or are close to it, and consequently, so are we; let’s aim to ‘be what we want to see’.
Because children mirror and pattern on our behaviours and responses much more readily than they just do what we say. Think of emotional regulation as more ‘caught’, than taught.
And if we can’t hold it together, we can’t. (Obviously if you end up feeling somebody isn’t safe when that happens, then I’d advocate getting some support!)
But, let’s also get realistic with our expectations, because-unless our child has a brain that’s operating in a more mature state than ours at that moment-we can’t expect our kids to practice self-control either!
Accept being human, recover, repair if you need to, and move on. That’s what tomorrows are for.
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