If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know that I started off as a not so peaceful parent. I had anger and impulse issues. I was an angry Daddy. I was a scary Daddy. Yes, I was also a loving Daddy. But overall, I knew that I wasn’t providing the best and most stable environment possible. I wanted to do better. I needed to do better. That’s just the truth
In order for this to happen, I had to take full responsibility for my end of the deal. It did not happen over night and there were set backs. It’s not easy breaking long established behavior patterns, or ways of thinking. It’s a bit of a pain in the ass actually. But the idea of creating a better life for me and my family is what pulled me through. I had a chance to be the author of my own destiny, to write a new story for me and my family.
It became abundantly clear to me that if there is one thing worth fighting for, it is was my own personal development so that I could be the best for my family, my children and my wife.
One of the strangest things I noticed right after gaining a bit more control over myself was, although I could be more patient, it didn’t always feel better. Ha. In fact, there were times when it felt worse. This confused me. Where was the pay off? And why was no one in awe with my newfound awesomeness?
No. This was a personal journey, with not much fan-fare.
Still, I was confused. Why didn’t I feel better? For example, let’s say that in a tough moment, I chose a better more positive way to be with my son. Let’s say that instead of yelling and/or threatening, or hurting, I breathed. Let’s say that I didn’t lash out. Instead, let’s say that in response to a “tantrum” or “bad behaviour”, I paused, and observed. Let’s say I was able to resolve the situation by understanding my child’s behaviour and found an alternative to harsh punishments.
And let’s say…that all of this worked! The “tantrum” stopped, he calmed down and adjusted his behavior. Well, this has happened. And, I remember that it didn’t feel amazing. Strange. It felt a unsatisfying. All of my instincts were telling me to do something else. Part of me just saw a “bratty” kid in front of me “whining and complaining”. Part of me saw a “disrespectful”, “ungrateful kid” who needed to “control himself” or be controlled by me. Part of me, wanted to go back to the older tough love style parenting.
This is what I want to call attention to. When you act in a new way, that is less punitive and less harmful, it might feel “incomplete” and unsatisfying at first. It might feel like you haven’t done your job, or like your child is getting away with something.
I was hoping that doing the right thing would feel better. But I was left wanting more. Don’t let this fool you. This is not your best self speaking. This is not your highest self. This is your ego and your programming. It’s a sign that your programming runs deep. A mature self-regulated parent teaches through love and guidance not negativity or fear.
This is an FYI to those parents trying to leave behind an aggressive/impulsive style of parenting. It’s not all high-fives and recognition. And sometimes, it’s a grind. I have to be honest. There is no point in glorifying it. Changing my parenting behavior was hard, and it’s still hard. That’s the truth of it. There is support, and skills to be learned.
I just wanted to mention that this is not necessarily and easy journey, but it is a journey worth embarking on. You will feel frustrated. Stay the course. Changing negative programming and breaking hurtful habits is important, so don’t give up on doing the right thing. Parenting is a long-game. We are doing this for other reasons than a quick fix or for what feels good in the moment. I encourage you to trade in the impulsivity and anger for something that is going to be better for you and your kids. I encourage you to be the author of the most loving and inspiring story you can.