You’re a parent. Do you know what that means?
Unfortunately, I have to say that a lot of people don’t know the answer. To be completely honest, I think they’ve never thought about it the way they should. It’s somehow taken for granted.
Dear parents, I want to tell you a few things about parenting.
- Making love and giving birth does not make you a good parent.
- Providing food and a “warm place to sleep” does not make you a good parent.
- Trying to mold a child to fulfill your dreams and expectations does not make you a good parent.
- Buying expensive gifts (clothes, makeup, toys) does not make you a good parent.
- “Because I said so.” is NEVER the answer.
- If your child lies to you, it’s your fault.
- Taking responsibility and saying “I’m sorry” is really important.
- Asking “Why?” is the key.
- “How are you?” may open the door you never knew existed.
- Listen, understand, respect and love your child. Don’t just say it. Do it.
Whatever your child does or says is your fault. And listen to me very carefully now, IT’S OK! There’s no such thing as “perfect parent”. There’s no such thing as a “tutorial” on how to be a good parent. Because we’re all different and we all make mistakes. We’re human beings. It’s not the end of the world if you make mistakes, but it is if you deny it. That’s the crucial moment that makes you, what we call, a “good enough parent”. You need to admit and accept your responsibility. This way, you’re teaching your child a lot of things. You’re not showing your weakness, you’re showing your humanity. You’re teaching your child empathy.
Monkey see, monkey do.
This is also a way to teach your child to tell the truth. Teach them that it’s OK to make mistakes and that we all do, but that it’s really important to admit them and say “I’m sorry.” Again – take responsibility. Monkey see, monkey do. Show your kids that they won’t be punished if they tell you the truth. Even if the truth is something “bad” they did. They’re lying to you because they’re scared of the punishment and it does not bring anything good. Teach your kids that whatever they did wrong, you can help and make it better, not worse.
The other reason why your kid lies to you is that they want to “look better” in your eyes. Think a little bit about this. The most important thing that child needs is parents’ love. That love makes their picture of themselves. Their self-esteem. You might think that you’re giving it to them, but if your child lies to you, be sure you’re not showing love the way you need to. If you’re continuously punishing your child, that’s telling them “you’re not good” or “you’re not good enough”. Naturally, the child will try to “win” your love, however they can. If you explain to your child why something is wrong (but make really sure they understand) they won’t have the urge to lie the next time they make a mistake. But if they did not understand, be sure they will lie. Not because they want to hurt you, on contrary, to please you. So, make sure that the child understands you. Have patience. They need time to learn. Repeat as much as they need it. This way you’re teaching them one more thing – constancy. It’s really important that your child feels secure around you and trusts you. By repeating the same thing many times, you’re giving them a clear picture of what you want from them, and more importantly, what is expected good behavior.
If your child is aggressive, be sure that they just wants your attention. Think again. I’ll give you an example. You’re having a coffee with a friend. Your child draws a picture and keeps calling you to look at it. You look at it and say “That’s really nice” and continue talking to your friend. Then your kid breaks a vase. You jump, yell, make sure to clean the mess and continue to give him a lesson how it was a bad behavior and probably punish the kid. Your kid will learn from this that they get more of your attention if they are bad or do bad things. Children need communication. If you don’t give them a “normal one” (asking them about their day, how they feel, if something is bothering them, if they are in love…) they will make sure to get it in the only way they learned from you. And that would be by “doing bad things” and arguing with you. In their unconscious mind, it’s better to argue than not talk at all. They would appreciate “bad attention” more than no attention at all.
When a child does something wrong, a lot of parents just punish the kid. Punishing is never the answer. Talk to your child. Ask them “why”? Ask them how they feel about it. You wouldn’t believe what you can learn about your child this way. Help them understand why something is wrong or right. If you manage to do this, they will never make the same mistake again. That’s why punishment is not the answer. Maybe something seems obvious to you but believe me, it’s not obvious for your child. You need to make sure they know what they’re doing. If you talk this way with your child on a daily basis, you’re actually preventing the situations in which you would have the urge to punish them.
A Second Chance
Teenage years are in a way a second chance to correct your mistakes as a parent. Make sure not to lose that chance. They are unconsciously taking a “revenge” for all the things you did not teach them when you should have (love, understanding, respect). Don’t expect to see those qualities in their behavior now, when you need it. They are the mirror of your mistakes. So, please have that in mind. Look in the mirror and let THEM HELP YOU correct yourself, for both of your sakes.