Well it happened last night, something that I have been preparing for since I became a mom, my daughter told me I hurt her feelings and she didn’t like me. I would like to tell you my world crumbled, but it didn’t. I stood my ground, she was unhappy with a decision I made that didn’t go in her favor. She was mad that she didn’t get her way, so she was doing her best to project those hurt feelings for me, along with lots of sobbing.
Becoming a mother, I didn’t think through a strategy of what type of mother I would be. I would just be me, which is witty, funny, authentic and a bit silly, but at the core loving and supportive. I did know that I was not going to be my kids best friend growing up, that was not my goal. I strongly believe that a parent’s role is to teach our children, to raise them with experiences that will help them navigate their own lives. I want my children to succeed, but not every lesson learned is one about succeeding, some lessons are about failing, getting back up and trying again.
Don’t get me wrong, I am my daughters biggest cheerleader, but she also has to have limits, rules and doesn’t get her way all the time. My house, my rules, I have been waiting forever to say that! Life is about rules, so what better way to teach a child than to start at home. I know this is not always a popular topic with parents to discuss, but I don’t want to be friends with my kids, I want to be their parent.
If I had to come up with a parenting strategy it would look something like this:
I am struck by the lack of planning we do as parents on who and what our strategy will be in raising our children. This is the hardest job I have ever had, and the least amount of business planning I have ever done. A lot of parenting is based on the child, the situation or off the cuff, but at the core parents should know what their brand of parenting is. What our core values are and instill those in our kids to create our family culture.
I talked to my daughter through her tears last night, about how I was sorry her feelings were hurt, but just because she was not happy with my decision, didn’t mean I hurt her feelings. Guys, my entire life of conflict resolution prepared me for this moment, I am sure! Of course I hate to see my daughter cry, especially at bed time. If you missed it, read my bed time routine and how I hate tears. But I would rather my daughter learn how to express her feelings of frustration with me at home, so she can process and prepare for these same moments outside our home. I don’t want to pretend that life will always be smooth sailing for our kids, I know they will have ups and downs they will have to navigate. I want our kids to be able to be knocked down and get back up. The good times are amazing, but the tough times are what we want to prepare our kids for. I sound like doom and gloom, but we all know that life happens, we have bumps in the road, but how we handle those hurdles is a huge part of life.
I know this is the first and one of the most minor times that I am going to offend my daughter, I am her mother after all. This was a great reminder for me to stand my ground, to remember what we want for our kids. We want them to deal with life head on, to not shy away from the hard issues, but to deal with the good, the bad and the ugly.
What you ask was my decision over last night? My daughter wanted to take the ipad in her bed to do more math homework, and I said no.
To all the parents out there, power to you all for standing your ground! Raising kids is the hardest but most fulfilling job I have ever had.