Be Gentler with Yourself

Brave Writer

You can be gentler with your children if you get into the habit of being gentler with yourself.

Have you ever noticed that when you yell at one of your kids, it’s more like you’re yelling at yourself?

If I let my sweet child have it for being too silly, or leaving their shoes strewn down the hallway, or for spending too much time watching TV, the underlying meaning is: Darn it. How did I raise such (fill in the blank) un-self-regulated, messy, laze-abouts?

My anger and irritation usually had more to do with how much I felt I wasn’t succeeding in parenting than it did with a true judgment of my child.

The source of so much parental anguish is the feeling of failing—failing to provide the best resources, failing to teach good habits, failing to instill higher values. Then we turn that anguish onto our kids, hoping there’s a shortcut. We can shame them into better behavior and absolve ourselves of those uncomfortable feelings.

To be gentler with ourselves would mean we are less attached to how our kids show up in the world. We could see them as independent beings rather than products of our parenting.

The more we lower the parenting bar, the more success we’ll feel and the less we’ll rain down the wrath of Mom or Dad on our children’s heads. The gentleness starts inside—a kind word, a warm smile in the mirror. Reminding ourselves that we are human, limited and glorious all at once.

Once you get in that habit for yourself, you’ll notice the quirkiness of your children and feel less compelled to treat them with harsh words and pressure.

This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!

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