This week I gave you some tips and ideas, things that I have used in my parenting journey.  Today I remind you that it is always a learning process.  You never know how to answer everything, how to handle every situation.

After four days of parenting blogs, I was feeling pretty good about myself as a parent.  Until my daughter asked me something and I fumbled on the reply.  Here we were, communicating in person, no devices present.  So communication- check.  I was acting as a parent, not friend- check. There wasn’t a battle- check.  Perfection?  Was I seeking perfection? Hmmmm….

So my daughter asked a question regarding how she should handle something via one of the teams she captains.  And I tried the standard level of questions: what is she doing now? What does she think she can do better? I gave her a list of things to try, and she has either tried them or they would not be effective in this situation.  I came up with every question I could think of to make her think about the situation from a different angle.  I came up with every strategy that I could think of that might work in that situation.  And none of it was working for her. I got frustrated. I think I ended with “Sorry dude.  I got nothing.” Which of course brought a tear to her eye because she’s frustrated with the situation. And now she was frustrated with me.

So here I was, riding high on my blogs from the week, and I had a parenting fail.

Hubris.  The downfall of everything.

So when I saw her tear I knew I screwed up.  I knew I had to recover.

I took a deep breath and I apologized.  I told her that that was not the right response, I shouldn’t have gotten so frustrated in the moment.  Then I told her that sometimes there’s just not a good answer for every situation.  Sometimes you can do everything right and it still doesn’t work. And maybe she’s in one of those situations, and she just has to focus on doing her best. And she shook her head as I kissed the top of it.

So I guess I’m closing out parenting week with this: one of the greatest things we can try to teach our kids is the ability to realize when we are wrong, or could have done something better- and to own it.  Admit it and apologize.  We also need to teach them that sometimes things will not work out the way we want them to,  no matter how much we try, no matter how much we want them to. But we still have to get on with it. Life is not easy, or nice, or fair.

Just love them.  Make sure they know how much you love them. In the end, that’s really what matters.

 

17 thoughts on “Parenting 105: It’s Always a Process

  1. One of the greatest challenges in parenting comes from wanting to help them and being unable to. Stepping back and letting them ponder their own solutions. Sometimes, the guidance they seek from us is an invitation for them to blame us for their youthful interpretations and they look for someone to blame when all they feel is their own frustrations.

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  2. I have always tried to teach my kids to take something from every situation, good and bad, and own their reaction to it and learn from it. It is not always the most popular stance but they seem to do well with that approach. You didn’t have a fail as your daughter learned from the situation.

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  3. I always tell my son that my number one job is to love him, number two is to keep him safe and number three is to help him be a good person. And it is up to me to remember to keep them in order!

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  4. Best advice ever! They will remember the apology for the rest of their lives. They may not recall what made them cry, but they will respect and admire a parent who can admit when he or she makes a mistake and is humble enough to apologize. Well done!!

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  5. You gave your girl the best lesson possible; no matter how “wise” we are, sometimes we really don’t know what to do! In that case, we do our best and call it done. I think you taught her many things, including the fact that sometimes we just have to struggle.

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