When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet, if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason or argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument. Just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change. – Thich Nhat Nanh
Lately my writing has been inspired by quotes and memes that I’ve seen on social media. My last post about “How moms say I love you” was really popular, possibly because mom’s give ourselves such a hard time. We are everything to everyone except ourselves. So when I saw the above quote and it resonated so much with me I thought I would again share some sentiments and insights I’ve had.
Firstly, how quick are we to blame, shame and guilt our children with shouting, or punishment when they do things wrong? Of course we expect them to learn, we expect them to know certain things and behave in certain ways. We have taught them, these things right? Have you ever considered though, what your own behaviour has on your child’s behaviours. Thinking about this now, it’s something I’ve written about quite extensively not only because I feel passionate about it. Mainly because I know it I keep falling short. My blog posts act as lessons and reminders to myself to be better. To be easier on myself and my children.
I’ve written about influencing my child to lie, because of my reactions and her fear of them. How my words (consciously and unconsciously), create ideas that stick with her about appearance. Emilie is at what stereo-typically is a difficult age – it’s an age where her body is going through so many different things. Most of which as women we know is hard to articulate. She is gaining an attitude, that at times really stinks. She gets preoccupied. Doesn’t feel like doing her homework. Rolls her eyes when asked to do certain chores. Sound familiar?
It has created some extra tension in our home, because I find myself correcting her. Checking up on her, being upset about rude behaviour or lack of answers. Not only is my child reacting to the environment around her – by sometimes acting out and looking for attention. More than that. Ladies, I have bad days too. I have bad attitudes, days when not a single bone in my body wants to do a task at hand. Days where I am moody and tired, or where I’m not sure what the heck is wrong with me but I’m just bleh!
The truth is everyone has those days. We however expect our children to never be disrespectful, moody, grumpy, to never have a bad day. How selfish of us? At times on top of dealing with natural human reactions – they have us shouting at them, because they happened to huff when we asked them to wash the dishes. How is it that we hold them to a higher standard than what we hold ourselves? A question asked by Rebecca Eanes, the author of Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, of course by understanding I’m not saying allow them to do as they please.
What I am saying is – cut them some slack. Try to understand where they are coming from too. Instead of so quickly reacting to a behaviour we are not pleased with, try to consider that perhaps they had a fight with a friend at school. Maybe their teacher was a little short with them, and it threw them off. Consider that maybe they expected a better result for a test and are disappointed with themselves. At an age where articulating their feelings to more than just happy or sad, is difficult to explain. I imagine its even harder figuring out exactly why they aren’t themselves. Just like the lettuce or plant – they need to grow and right now they aren’t sure how either.
How would you like to be handled on an off day? Hugged? Left alone? Perhaps taken a little extra care of? What if we started teaching our future leaders a little more understanding, at home. In their own safe environments, where they too should be allowed to let their hair down. We love these kids, we LOVE them. And love, what I know about is that it is patient, kind, it does not envy, or boast. It is not proud. It keeps no record of wrongs, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. Yes, I fall short – I fall short a lot. But I am learning – trying harder and learning.
P.S. If you are imperfect too – don’t forget the awesome competition we have running at the moment to win “Enemies of the Heart”!