We’ve all had the experience where you see your children doing something that you know without any doubt came from you. You see and think, “they got that from me.” For better or for worse our children are going to mimic us. This is natural in part because of the amount of time they spend with us and also because we are their literal role models.
Recently after my son through a fit, raising his voice and using some dramatic gestures with his hands and arms I had to stop for a minute and have one of these moments. I recognized that he had learned this way of acting from me. Initially I found myself trying to justify my actions thinking that as a parent I sometimes have to be dramatic that like in order to make my point and get their attention. I don’t know how many times I’ve embarked on that trail of self-betrayal, sub-consciously convincing myself that my actions are justified even when they are not justified in my children. Its a dirty lie of parenting.
Objectively I can admit that there is no correct way for parents to act as it relates to dealing with difficult situations and reacting to one’s environment that is incorrect for children. I have to change myself if I want to change my children and set them up for success. My children have become the perfect mirror teaching mechanism to show me my faults and that is terrifying. Its terrifying because we want our children to become better than us and so we enter into a spiraling and destructive cycle of tearing them down when we fail to take the higher road in our own lives.
Its time to admit that I should act the same way I expect my children to act. Next time my blood boils and I’m upset I might have to look them in the eyes and say, “Its not you, its me.”