Why You Should Mess Up In Front Of Your Kids….

It was a long week with my husband traveling, pregnancy fatigue, and a testy toddler. I was putting said toddler to bed when we had one of those “one more….” episodes. You know the one more story, one more kiss, one more drink, one more prayer, and then the most awesome of them all “I need to poop” and then doesn’t actually go. I remember being so tired and just needing some time to myself and for her to go to bed so I snapped at her. I hated the look on her face after it happened, I instantly felt guilty and sincerely apologized. She was so sweet about it and instantly forgave me. Later, as I was thinking the event through I could sense this overwhelming feeling that I needed to give myself a little grace. I love my daughter so much and I do believe I am a good mom, but sometimes I mess up. Sometimes, I allow my emotions to get the best of me and I snap at my family. I also know that everyone else on this planet is human and struggles with the same things I do too. But how can we use these moments of weakness in ourselves to teach our children a better way?

img_4790

Have you been in my shoes mama’s? Have you ever done or said something to or in front of your kids and instantly regret it? I think most of us would say yes, but if not, I think you are missing out. Hear me out before you think I’m crazy. I believe it’s extremely important to teach our kids how to screw up. Yes, I’m serious. I don’t believe in the “perfect” mindset because it doesn’t exist. When we mess up and apologize, or make things right, we show our children that it’s okay to make mistakes (because even your sweet little baby will make mistakes as they grow). Mistakes allow us to grow and learn from different situations. When we teach our children how to fail in safe environments they won’t be so afraid to fail as they step out on their own at school and in friendships. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could help our children succeed at life by allowing them to see that failure doesn’t have to be the end?

I have a distinct memory of getting into an argument with my mom and sitting in my room so upset, I remember just hoping and praying she would come to my room to say sorry. Note: I’m sure my pre-teen self was in the wrong, but I still needed that feeling of acceptance, reconciliation and forgiveness. Like she always did, my mom came to my room after we both had time to settle and we both apologized. I used to love those moments because they were so freeing, I felt as though my mom would love me even if I really messed up (and sometimes I did-I know your shocked right?!). I think one of the best gifts we can give our children is to allow them to be free to make mistakes without the fear of ridicule or shame.

Wasn't I so cute?! ;)

Wasn’t I so cute?! 😉

So next time you find yourself wanting to protect your children from real life situations or from allowing them to see you cry/yell/get mad, think again. Give your children the gift of learning to deal with emotions and our imperfect beings. Apologize when you mess up, and forgive when they need to apologize to you.

A Book That Has Changed My Parenting….

A friend of mine recently told me about a book that I should put in my toolbox of parenting skills, “Parenting with Love & Logic” by Foster Cline & Jim Fay. Since Brent and I had a long road trip to and from Nebraska I decided that was the perfect time to read this book. I’m so glad I decided to read this book because it’s really changed how I have been parenting Charlotte lately. I thought since this book was so good, I would highlight some of the things I took away from this book. (Reminder, this is not my original content but highlights taken from this book). This book aims to teach children responsibility, self-confidence, motivation, and helps to teach them to solve their own problems.

  • Allowing our children to fail and learn from their mistakes when they are young and the consequences are small. “We can hurt a little as we watch them learn life’s lessons now, or we can hurt a lot as we watch them grow up to be individuals unable to care for themselves… The older a child gets, the bigger the decisions become and the graver the consequences of those decisions.”
  • When parents remind their children of their weaknesses the result will be erosion of their self-concept. “We must be uncritical and unprotective. Parents who raise irresponsible children do exactly the opposite! They’re critical and protective.”
  • Children learn every interpersonal activity by the modeling of their parents, how they handle fighting, frustration, language, etc; kind of a scary/empowering thought, huh?

One of the biggest things I’ve taken away from this this book is the power of choices. Giving your children two choices in which you can both live with and allow the child to feel like they are in control to decide their fate. “When they choose an option, they do the thinking, they make the choice, and the lesson sticks” Choices like; Would you like to put your boots on now, or in the car? Do you want to wear your coat or carry it?

I’ll leave you with one last thing I thought was a really great thought about self-concept. “Kids are born with a great capacity to learn to do things the way big people do. They observe and attempt to copy what they see. Their prime interest is learning and doing things just like their parents do them. All too often, however, parents discourage their kids in this.” Does this scenario ring a bell for anyone?  Little Tyler sees his dad sweeping the garage so he grabs a small broom to ‘help’ and in his mind he is feeling big and learning to use the broom. However, his dad just notices the ‘mess’ he’s making and tells him to go play with his friends instead. Well this message the father sends to his son is that he is incapable and Tyler will be discouraged to imitate adult behavior.

 

Parents who build on their kids’ strengths find their children growing in responsibility almost daily.

 

Anyone read any good parenting books lately? Please share