I am not a perfect parent — just so you know. I do the things I have actually spent time thinking and researching and learning about why not to do them. I say the things that I wish immediately I could suck back into my face and swallow instead. I even do and say some of the things that I suggest other parents not do. And if being imperfect and yet encouraging (myself and) others to strive for being more realized and conscious in our parenting (at least) is hypocrisy then I do that, too.
You may wonder why I am admitting this to you, especially since I am the one making the case for a particular kind of parenting. “If this guy is saying he f—-s up at following his own suggestions then why should I bother doing anything he says?” Right? Well the truth is, I am not making the case for being infallible. I am making the case for being more conscious and conscientious in how we choose to treat our children. And one of the keys to this way of being is to recognize (and admit) when we blow it.
We have to be willing to look carefully, as I said yesterday, we have to be willing to consider what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how well we did what we set out to do ( among other things), and we have to be willing to do that again and again, over and over, day after day. Otherwise, we will undoubtedly drift back toward parenting unconsciously — doing things we don’t want to do, treating our children in ways that don’t match with who we want to be or who we want them to be.
And it’s a hard thing to stare your blunders down, admit your mistake(s), and make amends with your kid(s). It may even feel like you are short-circuiting your “authority” if you tell your children you goofed up. And to that I would say, you don’t need that “authority” anyway. You will get further with your children if you have their respect. And you will garner a lot more of that by being honest about it when you have made a mistake, and when you apologize for it and/or attempt to rectify the situation.
Our kids don’t need to think we are infallible. They don’t need to think we are always right either. They will listen to what we ask of them far more often and for far longer in their lives if they are allowed to see our authentic human selves, feel mutually respected (in part, by our honesty), and are given the opportunity to witness us cleaning up our mistakes (when they do occur).
Furthermore, and much more importantly, if our children see us being honest and seeking to make amends when we blow it, they will be a lot more likely to behave in the same manner when they make a mistake. Remember that whole modeling thing…? Well this is one of the best places to use the power of it to educate our children in the currency of human compassion, respect, and honour.
So, I am not perfect. I don’t really want to be. What I want is to keep looking at what I am doing, not become complacently couched in my “expertise”. It’s better for me, for my children, and for what I intend for my children to learn if I am allowed to screw up regularly and then do something about it.
Here’s hoping you blow it royally, too! And clean up with grace…