Welcome to my life. It's a whirlwind of kids, chaos, pets, people, family, art, and being home (most of the time; I like to get out here and there). We unschool, so the unexpected is, well, expected...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Being authentic with your kids

While perusing a local paper, I found an article about what to do when, as a mom, you get angry with your kids. It led me to this article.

I read the whole thing thinking for sure there would be at least one good answer. I got all the way to the end and the best answer was to punish your child by removing a priviledge.

The whole time I kept thinking, well, the answer is obvious, you treat your child like a human being. Be totally authentic. I thought, well, if one of my kids did such a thing as tell me that I'm an a**hole in public or even in private, my very first response would NOT be anger, I'd probably be hurt and say so. My very next response would be to find out why my child felt that way towards me and work to find a way to change that.

The other day we were in the grocery store, yeah yeah, another of those yucky parent in the store moments. Anyway, the mother was berating her kids wants for certain foods, after the kids had asked very nicely, in the "could we get this?" sort of way. It was shocking, to hear the mom's response, it was so harsh and so cruel, it left me feeling physically ill with an icy cold feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had to stop and breathe and gain calm before I could continue shopping. It helped enormously that my kids were there with me, and I could look at them and be nice to them.

I was going to say something to this mom, knowing that she might've hit me, that's how angry she seemed, but her kids did it for me, loudly and clearly. One of them started crying, and one of them told her she sucked and the other one agreed. Sometimes kids are totally spot on when they tell their parent such things.

So, in light of the article, I kept thinking about how totally far away from any of those suggested solutions we are with our kids! They are real people, with real feelings, with real ideas, and real minds and voices and if for some reason I forget that, I SHOULD be reminded, even harshly in public!

I seriously can't imagine one of my kids doing something of this nature, but I've seen kids do it, and it always reminds me of how wonderful it is to be authentic in my interactions with my kids. It isn't me, the parent, vs, them the kids, it's US, working together. If one of my kids is angry towards me and says something unkind, chances are, there is something to it, usually me acting or behaving in such a way as to warrant such a claim.

It's interesting to me how parents get to that place, like in the article, where they think everything is about them, that somehow that other person standing before them, their child, doesn't really count in the moment. That the only thing that really matters in such times is saving face and preventing any other such embarrassments from happening in the future. Frankly, I'd be embarrassed if I only did things to save face and to prevent "incidences" from occuring.

It never ceases to amaze me how little, parents in general, think of their kids as actual human beings and treat them with that in the forethoughts of their actions.