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April 14, 2009

Comments

Nancy

My 2 cents worth:

I agree that it takes a huge amount of emotional energy and self-control to parent. But I also think that we do get better with practice.

When it comes to empathy, what I find so ironic is that we expect our children to be able to control their emotions (behave), yet it is so hard for us as adults. How can we expect our kids to 'control' themselves if we can't control ourselves?

In my opinion, it comes down to taking care of ourselves so that we have enough energy (or maybe more energy than we woud have had), cutting ourselves and our kids some slack, and modeling by practice ('I'm feeling angry, I need to calm down before acting on it'). The word 'perfection' has no place when it comes to parenting, but 'practice' sure does.

hedra

@Nancy - I agree - it is a complex set of interactions across time and between generations, and that's both up and down from each. I've got feeds still going from my mom into me to my kids, feeds from my mom to my kids, from them to her, from me to her, from sib to sib to me to child to ...

And that's just direct interactions!

Practice is important. And yes, cutting ourselves some slack is important. Doing something to build up the energy, rather than just having it drain every day is essential. Getting someone else to manage or wrangle or whatever we call the parts that are the hardest for us, also important. I am always impressed by those friends and relatives who do this solo, because it is so much harder without that self-care break.

Anyway, definitely YES on all of the above. Model model model, think it through, put on our oxygen mask first (self-care), and practice without expecting perfection. All part of the package.

Madeleine

I think this might explain why my daughter's orthodontist appointments are so exhausting for me. I'm tense with anticipation that she'll be in pain, that she'll be angry or tearful, and then I'm watching her work to hold herself together. I'm weak kneed by the end, even if it goes fine.

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