As parents we tend to judge ourselves based on our children's behaviour, am I right?
For example, "My daughter got angry so I must be a setting a bad example"
As a parent of a teenage daughter I like to think I offer patience and understanding , after all I've been to all the Nathan Wallis talks, I work professionally in parent and child education and I practice yoga and mindfulness religiously! And yet time after time I get push backs, big feelings and even bigger behaviours (literally as the grow they get bigger).
Then I catch myself having thoughts such as "what did I do wrong? " "Why cant I help?" I must be a terrible parent" and so on.. In Mindful Kids we call these Red Light Thoughts - Because they stop us from feeling happy and brave. I also notice that I'm left with feelings of guilt, shame and resentment and I can feel this physically in my body as well as my shoulders become more tight and my jaw becomes more tense and I carry this around with me like a ball and chain and wonder why I feel so exhausted at the end of the day.
Luckily for me and only because I have practiced (a lot!!) I am able to catch my thoughts (like using a net to catch a monarch butterfly) I approach the thought with compassion and love and I'm curious to understand it better so I ask it some questions. Is that thought really true? Is that fair? Am I forgetting the positives? and then as if releasing the butterfly back into the blue sky I feel a sense of relief, a little lighter, calmer and even happier.
Its so easy to judge ourselves as parenting based on what our children are doing but that's not what parenting is about. Children and teenagers and meant to feel big, do big, push back and push the limits sometimes, its how the evolve and learn. As parents I think we need to let go of own critical self judgement based on the behaviour of our children and instead focus on what we're getting right, celebrate the wins and remember that no one person is perfect, not even my teenage daughter, and that ok. You're ok and I'm ok.
Like the monarch butterfly that started off so tiny and vulnerable it grew and it ate all the vegetables but eventually it transformed into a beautiful version and if we parent with patience and unconditional positive regard eventually our little critters will become the best version of themselves too. Its about being their "I'm here for you" person so you will be there 'go-to' person when they need you most. So give yourself a break and smile.
Parenting is about what we do, love, guidance and leadership and not about what they do.