In my efforts in becoming a better parent, I came across an interesting notion, ‘Seeing Your Child as the Teacher.’ Before I even started reading, I contemplated what that meant to me. I mean, how is your child the teacher and not you, the parent?! How can you learn something from a child, who has yet to experience ANYTHING in life yet?!
As parents we will always have positive, fun interactions with our children followed by negative, tantrum ones. The negative interactions are where your child is the teacher, where they have either said or done something that hurt you. Why does it hurt me so much with what they called you? Why do I get triggered by _____ ? These are questions you, the parent, should be asking yourself when your child is acting out.
Come to find out that a lot of my own experiences as a kid are now either helping or hurting the way I am raising Natalia. I was raised, well more like, engrained, with a certain set of values.
- God is #1
- Don’t have sex outside of marriage
- Don’t do drugs or smoke cigarettes
These 3 things were ingrained in me day in and out all the way until I was around 15. This is where the foundation, which I was raised on, crumbled when my mom had an affair. It made me act out, rebel and shut down emotionally to the point I just stopped caring.
When it comes to Natalia, I want to protect her and make good choices, but at the same time, I don’t want her to feel obligated or blindly follow what I tell her is right or wrong. Rather, I want her to respect and follow them, but also find her own beliefs and values as she grows up.
I need to understand WHY she is acting out or behaving in a certain way, but also WHY I am reacting in a way that may or may not be beneficial to her. It is up to us as parents to self-reflect and learn from our children so that we can be even better parents.
I believe most of us strive to be the best parents that we can be for our kids, but do YOU really want that? Are you constantly trying to learn and garner feedback from other parents and their experiences raising kids? Every kid is different, there exist no clear-cut guidelines on how to raise them, but I believe if you really want to be the best parent possible it ALL starts from Seeing Your Child as the Teacher.
Only then, are you able to find your own triggers… but most of all it makes you a better parent for YOUR kid. YOU will begin to understand them more and learn how to react and act with them. Your parenting style will start to form in a way that benefits your child’s growth and needs more.
So, the next time Natalia acts out says “No” (wish she never learned this word), I need to take a step back and see things from her point of view, but also self-reflect on what is causing me to raise my voice or act in a certain way.