be the parent you want to be…

Photo by Lori Grieg

I often come across the question from others about what to do when you haven’t parented according to your ideals. When posted on a parenting forum, there seems to be an overwhelming urge for others to tell the original poster that, “It’s okay.” They regal everyone with posts about their less than stellar moments and state that everyone messes up sometimes.

It’s true that no one is perfect. We are human and come into each of our relationships with baggage from our pasts. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t treat our own mistakes the way we would like our children to view mistakes – as learning opportunities. When parents make posts sharing such concerns, I believe it would be much more beneficial to help the person be the parent they want to be rather than swapping bad parenting moments.

Christine at Living the Unschooling Life recently wrote a post about labels. The particular post was about radical unschooling (RU), but the part that stood out to me that could relate to any parent rather than those practicing RU was this:

So, when I see that I’m not living up to my radical unschooling principles what do I do?  I learn from it – I think carefully about what got in the way & I resolve to handle things better.  I don’t act like a radical unschooler, I am a radical unschooler & the only way for that to be true is if I keep pushing myself to live a life that follows these principles.  After all, I want to be the parent my children need so that they will be the parent their children will need.
Replace the parts about radical schooling with any aspect you are currently struggling with. For instance, gentle parenting:
So, when I see that I’m not living up to my gentle parenting principles what do I do?  I learn from it – I think carefully about what got in the way & I resolve to handle things better.  I don’t act like a gentle parent, I amgentle parent & the only way for that to be true is if I keep pushing myself to live a life that follows these principles.  After all, I want to be the parent my children need so that they will be the parent their children will need.
Rather than telling yourself that it doesn’t matter that you screwed up, strive to learn from your mistake(s) and be the parent you want to be.

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