Step outside of Yourself

You’ve got to.  You’ve just got to.  There is no way we can do all that is required of us as good and loving parents if we don’t step outside of ourselves and just be what and who we know we need to be for the good of our children.  This is the hardest thing that there is: laying down our pride, as it is, and picking up (and putting on) love—self-less love, as it is—so that our children can feel and know that they are being treated like valuable human beings whose thoughts and feelings matter to us.  Yes, of course there will be times when their thoughts and feelings matter less than the urgent lesson of the moment (violence and aggression can’t be tolerated in any form, for example).  But in general, throughout the day-to-day of countlessly redirecting our young children, do not fall for the trap of thinking that their childishness is a form of disrespect or that we somehow have to “make” them behave if we find that we are repeating ourselves more than once.  Yes, confidence in parenting comes when we realize that we don’t have to repeat ourselves much—we simply expect our children to do what they need to do (developmentally-appropriately speaking), and we follow through well with the requests we make with them.  But that does not involve any other tactic besides patience and gentleness and consistency.  Do not believe the lies you may have grown up with that say you must be harsh and mean in order for your children to respect you.  This is complete garbage.  Our children respect us when we respect them.  So in order to do this (since it is, in fact, very difficult sometimes to not get carried away with the idea that because we are the parent, our children should snap to attention at the first sound of our voice (et cetera)), we will need to step outside of ourselves so that we separate from the part of us that may still agree and reason with the old [and ineffective] way of handling childrenChildren flourish when they feel loved.  And they feel loved when they are treated tenderly and kindly.

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