How to be a good parent, even on days that you fail
Our kids are our pride, the jewels in our crown, our most prized “possessions” and best accomplishments. Yes they are great. But they are also our kryptonite. The most painful and intense reminder that we are human, that we also falter and fail. Don’t know about you, but my kids are also my biggest challenge and spending a day with them just convinces be every time that I am a terrible person, and above all a terrible parent. Why? Because they push all the wrong buttons, they tease and defy, until I lose my cool. Somedays it takes the whole day before I reach the end of my rope. Others it happens much much faster. I lose it, and end up feeling like the worst mom ever.
Although a tad exaggerated. I think most parents can relate with the above. We are under constant pressure and stress and that leaves us irritated and prone to blowouts. Unfortunately our kids are usually at the receiving end, especially since so much of what makes a child a child can be highly irritating and aggravating. The non-stop questioning and talking and moving. It gets too much. It is definitely not their fault, I need to control the situation or at least myself better, something that I am really struggling with lately.
Because I feel so guilty, so often, I have stated to wonder what really makes a good parent. My conclusion? Presence. There is no other way of describing a good parent as “they were always there for me”. See how that eliminates the need for material possessions? No money mentioned, no activity. Just presence. But how to make use of this golden nugget of advice in our fast paced lives? Here’s how:
For kids, 15min of quality uninterrupted and undistracted time is priceless. If that is all that you have to offer, make it count. Furthermore, give them your undivided attention the first 5min after waking up, the first 5mmin after picking them up from school and the last 5min before going to sleep. In total, 30min of your day dedicated to your child. Not too much to ask, but so much to gain!
If you want to build even better, stronger relationships, try the following:
Give plenty of hugs and forehead kisses
Always make eye contact
Say yes sometimes when you want to say no
Involve them in your life
Create a game together
Watch them play
Teach them something
Read to them
Display their art proudly
Work hard and be an example
Show them how you give to others
Share with them something that you love
Embrace their noise
On days that I feel I failed them, I try to sit with them before bed. Those last few minutes I try to fill their heads with good and happy thoughts. I praise them, pray with them and thank God for them. They fall asleep feeling like the most important people in the world, and I am strong in the knowledge that I can try again tomorrow.