Let’s be honest… when becoming a parent, few things fall into place and happen the way you had expected them to. Add in a little trauma, a drill sergeant mama, and a little stress from everyone and you have a recipe for disaster.
Only two of those things do I have personal control over. MY stress, and MY parenting style. Let me tell ya, it’s a WHOLE LOT easier said that done to “change” what is so engrained into the core of my whole self.
I’m blunt, sarcastic, reactive, LOUD, I enjoy a good argument, I know what I want, and up until now, I knew how to get it.
BUT…with hands flying up into the air…I surrender!
THIS ME DOESN’T WORK FOR MY KIDS or my AMAZING husband!!!
Over the last week I have been reading “Parenting with Love and Logic” (L&L). It is a really great read, especially for us “Drill Sergeant” parents.
I am trying very hard to put more emphasis and responsibility on what my girls choose to do. My 4 (close to 5) year old Layla is actually fairly responsive to what she wants and course corrects when she makes a mistake. My sweet little MK has zero concept of this right now.
In L&L though, there is a chapter that starts with a precise description of my two girls. Layla, has an impeccable level of self-esteem, despite all of the “stomping” she had on her self-image all of these years. Since her self-esteem is so secure, she takes responsibility for herself, her actions, her feelings, thoughts, and it’s impressive.
MK, well, she has little to no self-esteem. It is like pulling teeth to get her to tell you something positive she did for the day. When it happens though, it is magical. That glimmer of hope in her eye that she doesn’t have to be a "bad" person just because her birth parents were. She gets stuck on the idea that in order to keep a connection to her roots, she has to BE BAD. That mean word, slap, kick, is her way of maintaining a connection to the people that DID those things TO her. It’s not about me, at all, and I know that, but she doesn’t. I make a great target for her disappointment with herself. It is easier to blame me for her wrong doings than it is to take responsibility.
In addition to taking it out on me, her birth family’s misdoing has become her scapegoat! Her bad behavior is a direct link to them, therefore THEY caused it. She hasn’t gotten to the point yet that she can say, “I am a good kid, I am a good person, I can choose right, I do have control and I can use it to help others and help myself”.
I want my kids to feel like I didn’t DO anything TO them, but I did everything FOR them. I don’t mean literally doing everything for them like, feeding them, putting their clothes on them etc. I mean I want them to feel like the decisions I made and the guidance I gave was FOR them.
So as usual, I ended up talking about my kids instead of creating my action plan. So here is my plan.
More choices, more talking (not yelling) about how WE create the world around us and choose our actions, and just as importantly our reactions. I will continue to remind them that tomorrow is a new day and they can try it all over. I will repeat as many times as I need to that I AM HERE TO HELP THEM, and THEY have choices that lead up to consequences and those choices (right or wrong) are NOT my fault!
My husband and I will both keep explaining the difference between FACTS, OPINIONS, and FEELINGS.
I will do my best to breathe and cuddle daily and I will try and remember that SO many other moms have it worse than I do. That even on my darkest day and saddest moment, there is a child in this world with no one to advocate for their rights.
We will all make it through this and in the end I think I will have kids that take responsibility for themselves. I do not want RAD to define my daughter's life.