Thursday, 28 March 2013

What about me?

I have got a feeling that this post is going to be rather unstructured and just a chain of thoughts...

Over the years there have been many discussions with parents (and reflections of being a parent myself too) about getting angry - and that somehow its taboo to get angry with your children - that we need to remain calm and collected and pedagogical ALL the time - but is that really staying true to who you are? Am I being false by hiding my own emotions?
Sometimes we get angry with children because of our own fears, sometimes because we are tired and sometimes as part of setting limits - usually it results in tears... but maybe we should not be afraid of tears. I am by no means saying "go out and bully your child into submission" - its a relationship we have with our children and relationships require time, effort and a whole load of listening skills, and our children need LOVE, SUPPORT and ENCOURAGEMENT.

Sometimes I wonder about whether we are reading all these parenting tips right? I mean I get it that we are the adult, that we need to be the calm one, that we need to lead by example - but how do we help children learn how to to feel loved even when it feels like the world is against us? If we never get angry with our children how do they know its OK to disagree in a heated manner and STILL LOVE SOMEONE?

I remember (more than half a lifetime ago) dating a guy that was an only child, and it stressed him when my sister and I would fight of trivial things... he simply could not understand how we could love and like each other even though we could say some pretty nasty stuff to each other... the words were about the disagreement, not about each other... we had learned that during our childhood, by being given the freedom to quarrel with each other, but also by having a mother that was generous and loving but could get real hopping mad at times. As a young child I do not remember once doubting my mother's love when she got angry (- sure preferred when she was not mad though).

But I think, if we, as adults, allow ourselves to show all our emotional range, and how we recover from them - or how we can accept that some were inappropriate or misjudged and can apologise after reflection - then I think we are giving our children healthy role models.

If we are swallowing our anger and negative thoughts then where is it going? How is it going to be channeled - when will it explode?

I am not saying that we should all go round expressing our every emotion, but what I am saying is that we should not have a guilty conscience about getting angry with our children - and I feel that most parents do feel guilty about this - yet another negative emotion to stock up on. 
Why not allow yourself to see the outburst as a learning opportunity - to show your child how to apologise, to offer an explanation as to why you got angry, to have the chance to reflect and think up new ways to deal with a similar situation in the future - and if its less taboo, then there is the opportunity to talk with other parents to get support and tips...
 but what parent wants to admit they get angry with their children - these days it almost feels like admitting to being a failure as a parent.
 I admire the parents who have the strength to say it as it is - as probably 99% of all parents experience the reality of parenthood. 

So what about me? What about my right to be a human as well as a parent? 
I have quite a lot of patience - BUT its something I wish I had more of... I use a whole load up at work, another load for my children - and there's next to nothing left when it comes to my husband... he has learned that when I start getting short with him - that it's best to take the children out to his parents and spend a weekend there - allow me time to breath, to listen to silence and to re-charge my batteries. I reckon that being short with him is my "batteries at 20%" sign. 

Oh, yes, I get angry with my children. Sometimes to set limits. Sometimes because I simply do not have the patience to deal with it as I would like to. We ALWAYS talk about the outbursts afterwards - their's and mine - and hopefully together we become wiser...

I told you it was going to be a train of thoughts... Might have a go at writing this from a child's perspective over the weekend... not sure if I can - but will an enriching process all the same...

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