Okay, so this post is actually about parenting. I know my blog has not always been devoted strictly to parenting, but this one is. And I think it’s an epiphany…one, if most of us SAHMs or SAHDs or parents in general would live by would make our job so much easier. I have had issue lately with Emme biting. She has been much better thank God lately. And, I was frustrated. On the verge of angry…actually. Thinking what I am going to do. Because obviously I must be a terrible parent if my child is a biter. Well, I should go back a little.
We were just on vacation in Siesta Key, Florida. And my daughter, Emme, is beautiful. Face of an angel. (I might be biased, but she is a cutie!) So this older lady comes and sits down next to us while we are waiting for our table for dinner one evening. She sees my nephew and my daughter, and goes on about how much she would much rather have a girl than a boy because girls are calmer and listen better. Well, just at that moment, Emme decides to throw a tantrum and bites me. This woman next to me lets out an ohhhhh that would make any mother feel the shame since obviously my daughter didn’t fit her mold. Well, I was angry. Embarrassed. It was time for correction, so we took a walk outside.
Truth of the matter was I was humiliated. That ohhh that the older woman next to me let out shamed me, and it was my fault. I shouldn’t have let it. Then I racked my brain for the better part of a day thinking about what to do. I took Emme to the beach that next morning, and she did it again when she threw a fit. I was fit to be tied. I couldn’t be talked to. I was seething. Finally, I collected myself and was putting Emme down for her nap…praying.
And you know, God gave me something that has and will continue to revolutionize my parenting. He said, Amanda, It’s not personal. Amidst, all the pondering and figuring and languishing about how terrible of a mother I was, He was kind and gave me the best advice I could give any parent from here on out when they are struggling.
Your child’s choices are not personal. They are kids. They are learning just like we are as adults, and if we take their behavior personally, we will parent reactively in anger instead of proactively with patience. Seriously, as hard as it is, and as personal as it may seem, none of the bad choices I made when I was growing up were done to spite my parents or do something to personally harm them. I was a kid. I was learning. And like every kid, I made bad choices at times. What every kid needs at the moment of a poor behavior or choice is a parent who understands that it is not personal.
That does not mean that there aren’t any consequences, but it does mean that there are consequences that can be given in patience and love without anger. and with teaching involved. Will I be perfect at this? No. The next behavior issue that comes up, I will probably need reminded of this, and so I will reread this blog. But if I can divorce myself from the fact that their behavior is not personal, then I can do a better job of training my kids.
Truth is most parents want to do that best they can with their kids, and teach them the things they wish they’d known earlier in life. No, we can’t go back in the past and change anything, but we can be different from here on out and enjoy the process of parenting and our children growing and learning if we simply remember: They’re kids and it’s not personal no matter how much it feels like it.
So next time you feel the twitch or the anger rising, remember they need consequences but its not personal. They are not doing this simply to make you angry. They are learning, and they will respect you more and learn more from you if you simply remember that, giving them the consequences they deserve, and teaching them what they need to do instead. So if you are blaming yourself for what your kids do, or you are feeling shame, let it go. It’s not personal. It’s a matter of teaching. Don’t give up. You can do it. And speak positive things about your kids starting today. It will change things in your life.