Sunday, November 17, 2013

I Failed as a Parent

For the first time in my life, I'm the mother of a middle schooler.  For the parents that have walked this road, I'm sure you understand how challenging this time in a child's life can be.  Although I've taken several parenting classes and even blogged about the parenting book that changed my entire thought process toward parenting, I failed as a parent this week.  Let me be clear, I'm not a bad mom, but if I were given a grade for my actions during a heated moment with my daughter, it would would've been an "F".

I have an amazing daughter who's in the "tween" age range.  Anyone who meets her will immediately picks up on her nurturing spirit.  I'm trying to adjust to the fact that in one moment she can be sweet as pie and the next she's, let's just say, different.  She can be reserved then quick and sarcastic with her mouth.  She wants to hold your hand and give you kisses one minute then race up the stairs to get away from all of us.  Get my drift......it's just a different day and time.


My husband and I are like most parents.  We sacrifice for our kids so that we can give them the best that life has to offer.  We want to provide opportunities that we didn't have growing up.  That's why when she responded to one of my requests in a way I didn't agree with, I lost it.  The whole incident happened so quick but at the end of it, I was yelling and she was on the floor in tears. 


You would have thought I hit her but I didn't.  I didn't need to.  My words and demeanor were sharp enough to kill.  At one point, I remember seeing fear in her face like I've never seen before.


At that moment, I had failed as a parent.

Ephesians 6:4 (TLB)

And now a word to you parents. Don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather, bring them up with the loving discipline the Lord himself approves, with suggestions and godly advice.


Almost immediately I regretted my actions and the harshness of my words.  Respect from my children is mandatory, however, it doesn't only go one way.  I have an obligation to respect them as well during our interactions.  Throughout the evening, I continued to think about how I blew up.  I knew the Lord was leading me to apologize.  I hesitated at first because this would be a different experience for me.  Pride tried to take over but I knew I was wrong and it had to be said.


I'm happy to say, I apologized.


Not only did I apologize, I wanted to find out her feelings and perceptions of the incident.  We talked through the situation and it was amazing to me how differently she perceived our interaction.  I didn't fear that saying, "I'm sorry" would lessen my intolerance of disrespect.  I knew that if I didn't move to a place of trying to understand her and apologizing for overreacting, she could begin shutting down.  There could come a day when she wouldn't want to talk to me anymore but instead, share her feelings with someone else.  This was a pivotal moment for us and I wasn't going to allow feelings of arrogance and pride hinder me from what I knew needed to be vocalized.


It ended up being such a beautiful and tender moment.  We embraced and talked about how I could parent better.  I vowed to yell less and listen more.  I'm not a perfect parent, but I am one that is completely committed to having a relationship with my children built on mutual respect. (Posted by Renee)

2 comments:

  1. Wow. Renee. I so appreciate your honesty and candor in this one. We can all relate. I've been there and I've had to apologize too. I can't even imagine what I'll be up against when my 6 yo becomes a tween. I love the scripture you used also. I'll have to go back and read that post about the book you read, but I think parental failure is not realizing the impact our actions make on our children. It's when you don't apologize and and talk it over. i don't think you failed as a parent at all, not even in that moment because of how you rectified the situation.
    We all have imperfect parenting and parental setbacks at times, but you, my friend are truly a parental inspiration to me.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your words of support. Parenting isn't easy but it's possible through Christ!

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