Show me a parent and I will show you a person with A LOT on their minds. Parenting is incredibly rewarding, but there is no denying how difficult it can be. Even with the best intentions, we mess up at times. It’s inevitable. And, of course, every good parent wants to raise happy, well-adjusted kids. Our hope is that any of the damage done to us during our childhoods isn’t passed on to them. We want them to get the very best out of life.
And although our hopes and dreams for them are amazing, our actions can leave scars we never intended. The most difficult thing about parenting is the level on mindfulness involved. As we strive to be good parents, we must be mindful of what we say and how we behave around our kids—at all times. It’s really not easy to do. And the more mindful we are of our behaviors, the more we realize where we come up short. Indeed, parenting makes us take a critical look at who we are and how we behave.
There is no perfect parent, so that certainly isn’t the goal here. However, if you find yourself doing any of the things below, then maybe you should pause and reflect on how your children may be impacted by your behavior. The impact may be more than you realize.
Fighting with family members.
Whether it’s an argument with your spouse, or getting into with your mom because she loves to push your buttons, fighting in front of your children can be harmful. The energy from such interactions can definitely have a negative impact on a child’s mood. Furthermore, if they realize this is how you communicate when you are upset or frustrated, it shows them that it’s okay for them to do the same. Keep your cool when children are present, and if the argument must occur, make sure it happens when your kids are not around.
Speaking poorly about yourself.
Many of us have things we don’t like about ourselves. Maybe you are disappointed with the way you performed a task, or maybe you have issues with your body. Whatever the case may be, don’t make your issues their issues. Confidence is critical, and to raise confident children, you have to be a confident parent. They admire you and look up to you. How do you think your kids feel when the person they look up to most doesn’t seem to think that much of themselves? Build your child up, and let them witness you building yourself up.
Saying negative things about other people.
Gossip is gossip, no matter how you slice it. If you want to raise children that deal with their issues head on, instead of talking bad about people when they aren’t there, make sure they don’t witness you speaking negatively about people who are not present. Even if they know you are upset with someone, simply tell them the truth while sparing them the details. Say you are upset with the person but you plan to talk to them later about it to see if you can work things out. This way your kids know that getting angry is okay, but what’s most important is how you deal with the anger.
Complaining about your job.
Once kids get to a certain age they realize that you work so you can provide for them. Is it fair for them to feel like you spend your whole day doing something you hate just to make their lives better? It’s okay to dislike your job, but do something about it instead of complaining in front of your kids. They will grow up realizing that life may not always be ideal, but you always have the power to make a different choice and change your circumstances.
Giving up without good reason.
I think we live in a world where many people give up on things with too much ease. If something is tough, it’s okay for your kids to know it’s tough for you. They don’t need you to be a superhero. However, unless you have a good reason you can explain to your children, never give up simply because something is difficult. You have to do your best to stay the course. It’s an invaluable lesson for them to learn.
BMWK family, what are some things you think children should never see their parents do?