I’m a bad parent too, corrected

Last night at dinner I got carried away with a line of questioning to my son. I consider him a picky eater. He is thirteen, and has chosen to be vegetarian. He prefers starches and sugars, so I worry about his health. I also sometimes feel that he is overly critical of food prepared by TL or me. I started asking every family member to name several of their favorite dishes. It went well at first. Then, after a few rounds, I stopped thinking and said something critical like, “See, son, it seems like you don’t like any dishes.”

It wasn’t true. But, I had told myself it was true because he was naming only dishes that I considered too starchy and not well-balanced. Repeat, it wasn’t true. He didn’t just name unhealthy dishes. Rather, I perceived his words incorrectly, due to my bias against him and my failure as a listener.

Despite my promises to myself to not criticize my son the way my mother criticized me, I found those stupid, hurtful words rolling off my tongue. And, worse still, I said that my line of questioning was all aimed at proving that he would not name healthy foods. That’s another sickly negative thing for me to have said.

Why do I do stupid stuff like that? I’m trying not to be a pessimist and a critic the way I was before D-day. I think I need help.

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8 thoughts on “I’m a bad parent too, corrected

  1. It is your default mode. My husband does this. The old fashioned way of counting to ten before saying something negative can help. Also, be up front with your son. Tell him you worry about his health. Be sure to be completely open about how you respond to things and you need the family’s help in reminding you to be mindful. Take the drama out of it. With teenagers you already have enough drama to start an acting troupe and take it on the road. Lastly, have him a complete checkup. There might be some underlying cause.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Circle back and tell him everything you wrote here and apologize to him. He will remember that and likely extend grace. Plus it teaches a valuable lesson to him as to how to handle hurting others. I have learned that when I do that and later apologize that has a huge impact in rebuilding safety with my children. We’re human. And even as adults we have to unlearn bad behaviors modeled to us by our parents as well. And don’t sweat the eating habits. My son was like that and now eats very healthy at 18. He’ll be ok. Just keep offering and encouraging the better foods. You’re not a bad mom. I know this because you acknowledge your mistake and acknowledged you need to improve in this area. That makes you wise, self aware, and strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No, you are not “bad” parents think they are great!

    My father e.g. takes all credit for my accomplishments. He said “I must have done something right”, you did well in school, got married and have a job! True, and none of his three kids ended up incarcerated, but that we all have our inner demons to come to terms with, is not his issue.

    My father, actually put me down so much that I started to believe that at the age of 13 and beyond I would not accomplish anything. I had to pick myself up and through friends saw that “hey yeah, I have brains and I can use them”.

    I did a lot wrong too. Also as a parent. Many times!

    Kids, however, are resilient and some less than fortunate comments, can be compensated for. It makes you human to go in the wrong and to take responsibility. Kids learn that they can make mistakes but that they also have to owe it and to make up for it.

    I like the plan outlined by Ross Greene, PhD. I hate the title “Explosive kids”, but that is just marketing and marketing he does $$$. I also do not like his assumption that parents and professionals need a lot of teaching to “get his plan”. We, as parents are not that dumb. The plan is straight forward and makes sense. Lots of parents (great ones) already do it while they did not even read the book.

    I like the approach as it is based on common sense. There are plans, A, B and C. Plan B is the win/win one: Start with a statement of empathy, define the issue, clarify (your concerns), invite: let the kid come up with a solution that is acceptable to all. It really works. The kid owes the solution and although not perfect, it is better than the alternatives.

    Plan A is imposing your will (does not work with kids and in particular teenagers), plan C is at times needed: Drop the issue for the time being.

    Just keep swimming!

    Liked by 1 person

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