Being kind to and patient with our children isn’t always easy. Staying calm in the midst of our children’s un-calm-ness is particularly difficult. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we quit. We keep at it. And just because we may make a multitude of mistakes along the way doesn’t mean we stop trying. We keep at it. We are not defined by our last mistake, our last trip up, our last blow up. We decide right now how it’s going to go from here on out. Remember that one of the reasons it is so tough to parent our children in child-friendly ways is because we were not parented this way. We don’t have to feel sorry for ourselves or to perpetuate the pain we still may feel because of the childhood we might have missed out on. We can put an end to the dysfunctional cycle and to the ineffective methods of authoritarian parenting, and we can step into and continue to learn the life-giving ways of assertive parenting instead. We can teach our children the best paths to walk in life without diminishing their personhood. We can still maintain our authority in their lives without ruling it over them. When we listen to our children, show our children empathy, give them [developmentally-appropriate] space to make their own choices, and allow their voice to be heard and counted, then we are growing in them a far stronger garden of life tools (sorry for the mixed metaphors) than if we would have made all of their choices for them and spoke for them and tightly controlled every aspect of their life. We can learn to let go in appropriate ways with our children. We can stay in control of ourselves without overly controlling their lives in the process. We can allow our children to be fully who they are all within healthy limits. We don’t have to mirror their childishness when things don’t go their way or ours. We can be the adult that we are and model for our children grown-up ways of handling different situations. And if and when we fail, one of the most important lessons that our children can learn from us is that we get back up and try again. We keep at it.