09 August, 2015

My children's behaviour is not necessarily a reflection of my parenting

This is something I've been trying to remind myself of for many years now. Particularly in response to bad behaviour, but occasionally I have cause to say this in response to good behaviour. People sometimes find this difficult to stomach, especially if they've just complemented me on the behaviour of my child.

Here's a reflection on a doctor's visit by a writer who had five boys and now a girl. Her girl's behaviour at the doctor (and she's not saying that girls are good and boys are bad, it's just a comparison of two of her children): http://testosterhome.net/2015/08/todays-ten.html

All of us parents could tell you similar stories, I'm sure. We can also tell stories of how sometimes we've handled the misbehaviour of our children well and other times we've handled it badly. I think the key is to understand our kids as well as we can (and for some it is easier than others), learn from our mistakes, and be kind to ourselves.

For example, this morning we had behaviour in church that was about to explode badly. It was very subtle, but one boy was progressively getting more and more upset about smaller and smaller things. I was headed down the, "Let's take you outside and deal with this," path when I remembered that he likes a back rub these days. (I also knew that a big fuss of taking him outside would probably not produce anything good, just the both of us missing a big portion of church and his anger increasing.) 

Thankfully me putting my hand on his back quickly dissipated the anger to the point of him being able to relax and listen to the Japanese sermon again. Noting that his Japanese isn't great. 

I'm reluctant to tell you this, because it looks like I'm boasting about my superb parenting skills. I'm not. It's just an example of a difficult situation that I managed to resolve because I've studied my son for many years and learnt ways to parent him. It could easily have not worked. Then I'd need to seek to learn from it and be kind to myself. I think it also helps to remember that in many cases the kids aren't doing whatever they are doing just to annoy you (though it often feels like it).

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