If you ever want to know what kind of parent you are, look at the kind of child you are raising. Over the course of the past few months, I’ve become painfully aware of my shortcomings as a mother. The reason I am realizing my mistakes is because I am seeing traits in my children that do not make me proud but ashamed and embarrassed. I’ve always known that as a parent, we are our children’s first example and role model. They pick up on everything we say, do, the way we act and react. I shouldn’t be surprised then, when I see things in them that mirror myself. Some of those things are great to see but a lot of the traits I am noticing disappoint me. I’m not disappointed in them though, I’m disappointed with myself for setting a bad example.
I can’t say how much of a child’s behavior is personality and how much of it is learned but I feel like a significant amount of behavior is learned. Is patience something that is learned or bred in us? I’m not really sure but how will my children learn to be patient when I am constantly rushing them? This is something that has become apparent to me this week. I spend so much time telling them to hurry up, move faster, get busy, finish up. It’s no wonder they expect instant gratification and satisfaction. They are learning that impatience from me because I am impatient with them. Patience is something I have always struggled with, even as a child. I can’t say that it is because my mom was impatient with me because I really don’t remember her being that way but I feel that my children are becoming impatient because of me. I see how they become easily frustrated with one another when they don’t get a response quickly enough. This “not being able to wait” mentality leads to frustration which leads to a loss of temper – something else they’re learning from me.
I know I am not the only parent in the world who has become so completely overwhelmed and frustrated with their children that they lose their temper. I live in a chaotic environment full of many different personality types and each and every one of the kids like to push buttons, pick on each other, do things completely out of spite and for a reaction, and all of these things lead up to the inevitable blow up. As hard as I try to remain calm and defuse these situations without raising my voice or becoming frustrated and angry, inevitably it happens anyway. I am definitely not proud of these moments, I’m horribly ashamed and regret yelling at them the very second after it happens. I can’t be surprised when they do this to each other right? I mean they see me do it so they think it is ok to yell at each other when they get upset. We preach to them about talking out their problems but it’s some what hypocritical of us because we don’t talk it through with them we just yell at them. Not always, I mean usually we start out talking calmly but after you’ve repeated yourself 1,000 times you stop being calm and composed and you start yelling because talking about it isn’t working. What we need to realize though is that when we yell at them they shut down, they hear nothing we’re saying and it’s scarring them. I don’t want them to remember me as the mom who screams at them. I want to be that mom that speaks with love and kindness because I want them to be loving and kind. Again, they’re living by example and I am not setting a good one.
I’m not sure if they’re learning spitefulness from me. I don’t see myself as a spiteful person and I can’t think of an example or a time where I exhibited that trait in front of them or towards them but it is something I am seeing in them. I see them do things to each other out of pure meanness. I’ve been told that brothers and sisters argue and fight and that it is normal behavior but I don’t feel that this type of behavior is just sibling fighting. I don’t really know how to correct this behavior so if any of you guys have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
I don’t believe that we have bad children. I’ve seen bad kids and I want to believe that mine don’t fall into that category. I can admit though that they have traits and tendencies that I am not proud of and again it all befalls on us, as parents, to set the example. This is why I am taking the time to make note of all the things I see in them that make me feel sad and disappointed and then evaluating myself. If they are learning it from me, I have to reteach them by setting a better example. I know I am not perfect and I never will be but I know I can be better as a person and as a mother. Being a better parent starts with being a better “me”.