Can I let you in on a little secret about parenting that I figured out recently…
It’s not personal.
The preschooler is not lying on the floor of the supermarket screaming just to see if he can drive me insane.
The school boy didn’t decide to punch his brother in front of the whole school just to show the world how bad a parent I am.
Even the ‘I hate you’s that fly out of the mouths of my raging tweens are not really about me.
Even the eye rolling is not personal!
I know it feels personal.
Oh boy does it ever feel personal.
I know it feels personal, and frustrating, and like they are just trying to make your life hell. I know it feels like they are pushing your buttons just to see how long it will take you to explode, or calculating devious ways to make you feel like the worst parent in the world.
I know it feels like that, but they aren’t, really they aren’t.
They don’t want a cranky, yelling, parent dishing out consequences and retribution in a screaming voice. They are not doing this simply to upset you, or because they were put on this earth to drive you insane.
They are doing, or saying, or raging because they are struggling.
They are sad, or angry, or frustrated, or scared, or worried, or ashamed, or disappointed, or confused and they are struggling with that.
They are testing limits, they are not testing you. They are angry at the boundaries, or the the consequences, and sometimes even at your behaviour, but they are not angry at you.
If you let yourself think it is personal, if you take offense every time your child lashes out, you will be miserable, and odds on you’ll end up making your child miserable too.
And if you let yourself think it is personal you are buying into a big fat guilt trip and missing out on the bigger picture. You are missing your chance to figure out what is really going and to really make a difference.
So next time it feels personal, take a breath, a big, slow, breathe and start whispering this to yourself over and over again…
“It’s not personal, it is not about me, my child is telling me they are struggling, it’s not personal, it’s not about me, my child is telling me they are struggling”
PS: I don’t really know 21 parenting secrets… that was just a random number I plucked out of the air. But maybe there is 21, or maybe more parenting secrets? I wonder if we could create a list of parenting secrets?
Do you struggle sometimes not to take things personally?
Do you know any parenting secrets?
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Wise words there Kate. Borne of experience methinks. I often consider behaviours that seem personal or confronting are because the person (old, young, in between) can’t find the right words or the right behaviours in their bank so they revert to “default” I’ve done this a bit myself recently when I haven’t been able to process what’s been wrong with me. It’s getting better. Thanks for such helpful words. Denyse
Somehow your posts about the parenting always bring tears into my eyes. Good emotional tears, because what you write is so very true. Thank you
A timely reminder Kate. Thank you x
So timely. Tears welled. I need to remember this!
I just want to come by and chat with you constantly. I couldn’t agree more and thinking this way is absolutely the best advise a parent could possibly get. Your beautiful writing style makes you perfect to share the message. And, I will had that even though I know this, I still have moments where I forget and this was such a nice reminder.
returning: one of my other secrets is remembering: humour, humour, humour ….