As I watched parents related to their children, it came to me how we as parents learn so much from our children. Oh the lessons I have within the toddler years of my son’s life. From the birth of “me not being ready,” till now has been quite the adventure.
Here are a few things that stick out for me and I am sure for other parents too.
1. Our child is a mirror image of us. I have never seen myself before “act up” until I have seen my son in action. Really brings me back to seeing how I am being with him and other people, especially when things do not go my way. How I shifted my behavior is to recognize what my son was doing, then be aware of my actions and the next time things were not going my way, how I acted out the same way as my son. To pause and recognize what is going one with my son and then with me is a big lesson and tough to do. What works for me is taking a deep breath and shifting my energy, and choosing other words that are as a matter of fact. Now I do not do that every time as this is a practice and I am not being an example to my son to deal with tough situations differently. Another great method is recognizing my behavior toward my son and journal it. This allows me to learn how I can shift to serve my son.
2. Patience. Having a child challenges me with patience. Instead of yelling at him, which he NEVER deserves. Learning patience is the healthier choice. If a babysitter is late, and it is my biggest pet peeve if someone is 10 minutes late or more, now I just accept that this is happening, re-manage my schedule and have a talk with the babysitter and if it happens again, I find someone else to watch my son. When my son spills something, my reaction is “great! would you like to help me clean it up?” I love being on time and when I am not I usually get really anxious, now if my son is refusing and we are having a time getting him in the car, I go with it and breath, wait a few more minutes and then ask him again if he will get in his seat. I add respect to him by my tone of voice.
3. My child is me. This weekend I can see how my unhappiness affects my child. When my smile is not apparent, then his is not either. Ouch that hurts. A parent’s emotional stability completely determines the child’s. One Mom I know is very calm and articulate and so is her 2 year old son. Learning to watch my emotional imbalances and how I handle situations; calmly or anxiously or do I break down. Some times I do all three. To balance myself as a parent, I sit in a quite place and meditate for 10-30 minutes 4 days a week. Exercise helps tremendously, I personally choose weight training and tennis. Then journaling before going to bed works well to get all those childish emotions out. The trick is during an upset, what do we do as parents so we teach our children who are watching us? If we remember, we can react then breath, breath again and figure out how we want to handle the situation and even involve our children to help and participate so they can learn.
For example, the other day my son and I get into the car and the car wont start. We had a full day planned and I freaked out. Then realizing my son was with me, I made a few phone calls. Then told him the situation and he asked me to pop the hood and took a look to see if he can fix it. We ended up making calls the entire morning and went back in the house to eat lunch and hang out a bit then AAA was the last solution and rescheduling my plans for the day was what ended up happening. It did not matter at the end of the day as I still got quality time with my son and by me handling a situation that is stressful for me, he got to learn that this does not have to be stressful.
Life is about learning and developing, as a parent I am and will always be learning how best to raise my child. Having children I like to say is a lifetime personal development course as our children are teaching us more about ourselves than we could ever learned if we did not have children.