When your kids talk back to you in a disrespectful tone or argue sassily or have rude mannerisms, does it trigger you and cause you to see red… resulting in “not your proudest parenting moment”?
When you find yourself in those moments simply reacting to their little or big temper tantrums or bad behavior, is a little yelling on your part not completely justified?
After all, if this was twenty-five years earlier and you were speaking to your parents in the way your child just did towards you, you probably would have gotten “a lot more” than a little yelling and a “light” squeeze on the arm.
However, it is unlikely that you will continue to justify your words or actions down the line if you see your child struggling because of his negative self talk.
Ironically, the voice in his head is the same language you used last week when you “lost it” because he was acting bratty and disrespectful by anyone’s standards.
Here are some typical scenarios that end in a communication breakdown between you and your kids:
· You pick your kid up from a friend’s house and he doesn’t say a word to you on the drive home as his fingers move a mile a minute engaged with his screen. After not seeing your son all day and in an attempt to connect, you ask question after question only to be received by grunts or one word responses. You finally lose your temper and launch into the “I’m not a taxi driver and the least you can do is talk to me” lecture. Or maybe you ignore him in return and hop on a phone call with a friend as the two of you arrive home as disconnected roommates rather than the mother and son from the I Love You Forever book. “I love you forever. I’ll love you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” (I’m such a softy - that book was always such a tear jerker for me!)
· Your little one is going through the “lying” phase. You find red spray paint on the inside of your garage door in the shape of what appears to be the letter “C” and your son’s name happens to be Cory (yup – this happened in my home when Cory was 4 or 5). When you ask your little boy if he put the red paint on the door, he answers, “What paint? Oh, no I didn’t do that.” You point out that you know he did. You then proceed to lecture him about destroying property, respecting your family’s home, breaking rules and you end up sending him to his room in tears after “raising your voice” to a level that some might describe as yelling.
· You attend your child’s softball game and she makes some major errors that end up heavily contributing to the loss of the game. As you get in the car after the game, you decide to give your kid a few helpful pointers. Your child is silent and you wonder if she is even listening so you ask her, “Do you hear what I’m saying. I love coming to your games and I’m just trying to support you and help.” Your child either totally shuts down or responds in a snarky tone and/or manner and before you know it, the two of you are in a full blown heated screaming match.
How do you interact with your kids on a daily basis? For real.
If you were on Candid Camera, (God, I loved that show as a kid), what would the interactions in your home look like?
Would you be proud of your behavior and want it viewed across America?
Kids seem to know how to push our buttons and due to the fact that you are only human… naturally your reactions may involve a little yelling, belittling, ignoring, dismissing, shaming or responding in a sarcastic manner when they are behaving like little animals…and not the cute and cuddly kind either.
No matter what our kids do to “deserve” our behavior toward them, what if the things we say now to them during heated moments becomes the way they speak to themselves in their heads in the future?
“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice” is a quote I heard years ago and it really resonated with me.
When you experience your child struggling with grades, sports, maintaining friendships or turning to food for comfort because her inner dialogue has caused feelings of low self worth, your heart hurts.
The last thing we want to face or admit as parents is the possibility that our words or aggressive behavior contributed to our child’s pain.
Quite often, as parents we don’t connect the dots between our behavior becoming our kids’ inner voices and contributing to unhappy patterns in their lives.
If you have ever worried that you are doing or not doing something that could possibly affect or even hinder your child’s future happiness, then you know deep down that there is validity to this theory...a parent’s actions today impacts their child’s tomorrows.
The question of am I screwing up my kids has to do with the love you feel for your kids and wanting the brightest future possible for them.
The worry about screwing them up has to do with the guilt you feel about all those times you “lost it” even though they were acting creepy and disrespectful and probably deserved it.
No parent loses their temper or behaves in negative ways when their kids are on best behavior.
These moments happen when our kids are at their worst.
However, no matter how much their behavior may warrant ours, the outcome will be the exact opposite of what we want for them in life.
So in keeping your eye on the prize - a happy and successful future for your kiddos, it is imperative to learn how to become part of the solution rather than adding to the problem in these moments.
One of my favorite parenting tools is called, The Productive Conversation.
This is a 5-part process that will result in peace, learning and connection for you and your child.
There is an art to the process. Timing, delivery and intent are crucial.
What I can tell you is that when you learn how to have a productive convo with your kids, you will never worry that you’re screwing them up again.
Want to hear more about how to have a productive conversation resulting in a stronger bond between you and your people than you can even imagine right now?
This is a tool that will produce immediate results. It is more involved to teach than I am able to do in this forum but anyone can learn it and most importantly, it works!
I care and would be so willing to hop on a call and discuss this with you. Click the link below to book a complimentary session. I LOVE LOVE LOVE talking about this stuff and problem solving your particular situation so please don’t feel hesitant to reach out or worry that you’re bothering me.
Unlike my son, Alec, who is a senior in high school and about to go off to college, you still have time at home with your kids to improve your relationship and enjoy them. Click below to schedule a call with me and to begin taking action rather than living with the guilt, worry and regret for one more minute!