By Dr. Kim Grengs, Parent Coach
Do you ever want a “do over”? I know I have and continue to want “do overs”, for my mistakes along the way. I have also learned from them and will continue to learn from them.
Here are a few mistakes I made as a parent, and maybe you can relate.
THE MISTAKE I MADE WITH MY DAUGHTER
Do you remember potty training your first born? Wow I do! I was not good at it. I made mistakes along the way. There was one time when my daughter(age 2) and I were going to my parents house over three hours away. When we approached a rest stop, I told her she was going to try to go to the bathroom.
The first mistake I made was I told her instead of asking. I take her in the women’s restroom and help her get on the toilet. She was on there for maybe a minute and she said she did not need to go. So instead of saying okay good job trying, I made her sit on the toilet for another five or more minutes.
At this point she is crying and I am frustrated because I do not want to stop again so I am determined she is going to go to the bathroom. Well needless to say it did not happen. As I am driving and she is still crying, I think about what is important in life and how unimportant it was for her to go to the bathroom at that time.
THE MISTAKE I MADE WITH MY SON
My husband and I had bought a new used car that happened to be a convertible Mustang. Fun, right! One of the first days our son took it out for a drive with some friends. The only thing we told him was that he couldn’t put the top down, which why do you have a convertible if you are not going to put the top down?
We can all guess what happened next. He opened the top, but when he tried to close it, he didn’t do it properly and it got stuck. I immediately yelled at him, not just raised my voice, but flat out yelled. I said some things like, “That was so stupid!” “Why would you do that?” and “We should have never let you take it out!” I still to this day remember his facial expression after I yelled.
I felt awful, like that sick feeling you get when you have done something wrong. Needless to say I did apologize to him later that night, but it took a long time for him to get over it. He never wanted to drive the car again and was hesitant to ask me for anything.
Looking back at both instances I still feel bad about how I reacted, but I learned from those times and still use what I learned today when I parent. Trust me, there are so many more mistakes that I make daily, but those are two that I still think about.
How to Avoid common parenting mistakes
- Take a deep breath when you feel like you are getting upset.
- This may sound funny, but count to 10 or 20, whatever works for you to calm down.
- Ask questions instead of talking at your child.
- Remember that they are individuals and will tell you with body language what they need and can do.
- Be a good listener. The better listener you are the more time you will have to understand the situation.
- Take time to know the situation and learn from your child.
Mister Rogers said it best,” It’s the people we love the most who can make us feel the happiest… and the maddest! Love and anger are such a puzzle! It’s hard for us, as adults, to understand and manage our angry feelings toward parents, spouses, and children, or to keep their anger toward us in perspective. It’s a different kind of anger from the kind we may feel toward strangers because it is so deeply intertwined with caring and attachment.”
Join our Facebook group to talk about how you avoid these mistakes, or to share how you have handled a big mistake you made as a parent.
If you still feel like you need more support or a listening ear on some of the mistakes you have made please know that parent coaching may be the perfect fit for you. Parent coaching is available to support you with another perspective and help you make confident decisions in parenting. Schedule your first session today!