Something that strikes me over and over again in every single casual conversation with friends of mine who are parents is the immense GUILT that we all carry around for our shortcomings. For those times when we lose our cool and think we have permanently damaged our children forever. In contrast, I believe it is these times that create the opportunity for our children to become better.
As parents we put such unrealistic expectations on OURSELVES. Am I right?
A recent true conversations with one my most trusted friends taught me that it is not the ability to be a perfect parent who never loses their cool that will create a strong, healthy, self loving child who turns into a strong, healthy, self valuing adult. It is the ability to demonstrate to them what to do WHEN we screw up. Let’s face it, we ALL do, we all WILL. Stop running away from it, it is OK, really.
To show them how to OWN their actions, take responsibility for their faults, and apologize is a much more valuable experience than to never yell at them when you are so at your wits end for whatever reason you think in your mind is inexcusable. It isn’t, be ok with having limits my friend. Even “superparent” over that has limits, he or she just hasn’t had the courage yet to talk about them.
In fact if we do not ever fail or show our imperfections as parents in front of our children, we are doing them quite a disservice. We are dissolving them of the experience to learn that it is OK to be imperfect, especially as a parent, and that there is a proper and productive way to react when we have behaved in a less than perfect way.
I left my friend for the evening saying this. “Truly, she (her daughter) is going to make mistakes and make the less perfect decisions in her life. It is a SKILL and a valuable thing to have showed her exactly how to move about life in the midst of that human quality.”
So how have you shown others your imperfections and owned them? Are you demonstrating in your own life that it is ok to be imperfect by allowing yourself to be?