Thursday, November 14, 2013

Parenting, the Panacea

Today, I heard myself say that my parenting is the root cause for my children's behaviour -- both now and in the future.  And my friend kind of just looked like me like I was nuts.  And he's right.  Whoa.  I've taken my parenting role WAY too seriously all these years.  I have a job to do, yes.  And how I treat my kids will definitely influence how they treat themselves and others.  But there are many more factors beyond my parenting that will guide their behaviour -- peers, spouses, opportunities, personality, education, genes, etc. 

I have gotten way too big for my britches.  In fact I am setting myself up for failure here.  Because I feel responsible for their behaviour (rather than realizing that as independent people they are the ones who are responsible for their own behaviour),  I will be devastated and feel like I have failed as a parent, when they fall.  And yes, they will fall from time to time. Jesus, how did this happen?

For starters, I blame and judge too much.  When another kid misbehaves, I blame it on bad parenting.  When my own kid can't control her anger, I try to think of ways I can fix that.  When I feel my own neurosis creeping up, I blame my own parents instead of taking responsibility.  Ugh, this is ugly!

My friend helped me realize that most of how we act as parents comes from emotion, not parenting text books.  And my best parenting is simply setting a good example and loving my children unconditionally.  "I get you and I love you for who you are, not what you do". And guess what?  Most parents do JUST that, regardless of what techniques they use to parent.

How humbling this was to realize that I had inadvertently created a mega-identity for myself.  Time to downplay Diane, the Mom and start being just me, for everyone's sake.

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