Dear readers, this week I want to share an open letter to all the wonderful parents out there. Being a parent is truly difficult and one of the hardest jobs I have ever had. We all want to be the best parents we can be for our children, but this is often hard to navigate. And every aspect of being a parent has been more complicated and more fraught during the pandemic.
Not Every Conversation Has to Be a Lesson
Sometimes, your child just needs a friend. Take a step back from the discipline and ask them how they’re actually doing. School, homework, and social interactions can be so stressful for them and that can make them feel like the world is blowing up. When they come home, just listen to them in an open, non-judgmental way. If they were at fault, don’t blame them. Help them learn by asking, “What do you think you could have done better?” and “How do you think you can fix things now?”
Disagreement is not the same thing as disrespect.
Parents usually see any deviation from their rules or even preferences as disrespectful. It’s difficult to suggest putting the topic off until later because respect is very important. However, we parents too often fall into demanding respect and forcing children to comply. With threats, punishment, shaming, and rewards. We use various forms of our power to get kids to respect authority. Our success has been our downfall. We’ve unknowingly taught kids to respect the power and control of authority, losing sight of the more important goal of respecting relationships and respecting each other as individuals.
Their emotions are just as valid as yours
Parents unintentionally invalidate their children when trying to help calm them. It can be hard to see your child suffering and struggling. Parents are quick to jump to problem solving or suggest a coping strategy. At times, parents want to push the difficult feelings away because it’s hard to tolerate seeing their child in distress. Validation isn’t about fixing problems for our children or trying to change their emotional experience. It’s about allowing your child to sit with their emotion and acknowledge it. They are allowed to cry, feel pain, grief, and all other emotions that come with the human body. Try asking if they are okay or trying to understand their side of things. Not everything is about you being a parent and them being your kid. You’re on the same playing field as them.
Congrats to the parents reading this who are willing to make their relationship with their children even better. You are one step ahead of every other parent! However, I’m confident that if you implement some of the advice from this article, you’ll be on your way to a better relationship with your partner and children. Parents are important role models for their children, who learn how to behave by watching mom and dad. What you do makes a difference.
Follow me on Instagram (@saha_mamta) and Facebook (Mamta Saha) for more resources for your well-being. Download my free e-book: www.mamtasaha.com. Until then, stay in touch and I look forward to hearing from you! Good luck, dearest readers.