Kids are not parenting experts. Kids are kid experts. They test limits, break things, and discover the world around them by doing and being.
Parents love, feed, hug, cuddle, teach, nurture and bear all things with patient admiration of their child’s unwavering belief they will be successful on the world stage someday.
I had to be patient with myself and become willing to admit when I made a mistake. Today I apologize aloud to my kids when I screw up. As I hear myself say those words I’m also pledging from that day forward to do my very best and be a better mom. It took a leveling of my pride to offer an amends and hear from them what a change in my behavior looks like.
Sound foreign? Of course it was. It was like learning how to speak and write Chinese. However, consistently practicing sane parenting eventually made me a stronger and more confident parent. It was a priceless gift.
It truly takes a village
I loathe clichés but this one is legit. It truly takes a village to raise a child. No, I didn’t read the book but my experience proves this essential truth.
It took me a while to hear my own voice, i.e., other women honestly told me what they heard. I wasn’t paying attention to what I said, how I said it and whether I was mean when I said it. Years of recovery and working with a 12-step sponsor helped me see how flawed my thinking and actions were.
Over time, it was as if my ears were unplugging, my eyesight was sharper and my tune was changing. I noticed how my children reacted to me. Instead of hellfire and brimstone my kids received redemptive and life-giving words, actions and body language.
Let’s be real
How could I expect my kids to come to me with problems if I kept punishing them harshly for mistakes?
Having a hard day at work or being angry with my husband was no excuse to add an edge to my tone of voice, body language and choice of words directed at innocents. It’s incumbent upon me to be the adult, the sane parent who can switch gears seamlessly so I don’t permanently scar my kids.
When family abandoned me after my husband died, I leaned heavily on my real family, i.e., friends in recovery, church, etc. These invaluable relationships helped me realize I was not crazy. They told me I was a good parent after an onslaught of court documents claiming I abandoned, neglected, abused and violated my own babies.
Others told me just because my family says so doesn’t mean it is so. Pastors, teachers, peers were all in my corner. I began to experience true freedom. I was breaking away from a severely dysfunctional history. I was forging a family that God could bless and use for His glory.
Trusting my instincts is a must. I now understand as long as I am not dependent on the old ways I will be hated all the more by those still living in dysfunction.
Perfect Love cast out fear in me and replaced it with joy unspeakable. I lean on my Rock and my Healer who is worthy of my trust and affection. I have stepped out of the boat keeping my eyes laser focused on Him.
My cousin remarked, “You really got out. You’re free.” Yep, I sure did and I am.
Posts in this series
Parenting with posttraumatic stress disorder
Discipline requires training, love spelled t-i-m-e
Beatings/Spankings are abuse: plain and simple
Parenting, like marriage, requires work
Parenting is a lifelong-learning proposition
Stop, look, listen and ask yourself questions
The high art of juggling
Downtime: the golden goose of PTSD
Worldwide parenting with PTSD Awareness Day
Parenting is a high call no matter your lot
The drought before the drought
Being misunderstood is a symptom
You are being forged in fire
Awakenings podcast: Parenting with PTSD
For single parents
A tribute to single parents