Are we teaching our kids, or are they teaching us?
Teaching our children is a huge part of parenting -‘we sit like this at the table’, ‘if you climb up there you won’t be able to get down’, ‘please don’t sit on your brother’. It's easy to miss the fact that they are always teaching us.
Our children seem to know the best way to push our buttons - a wonderful knack on their part - but maybe they're just showing us the areas we need to grow? Hard to realise when you're asking them for the 53rd time to put their shoes on.
My kids love screaming at me for their toast when the toaster takes too long to cook it (and then, might I add, deciding they don’t want toast once it pops up), and they love asking me where they put their things. Are these small frustrations, lessons for me? I definitely don’t handle them perfectly, but if I can manage to reflect on them, I can see I am growing because of them.
Instead of questioning the way I handle these ‘lessons’, I am trying to re-frame that guilt into something else.
Often I feel like my kids are some of the most challenging on the planet, and I’m sure at times you do too. So I’ve done some reflecting, and here are some of the lessons I can take from mine. Hopefully you remember my story when your kid reminds you how hungry he is straight after lunch.
The complete joy my child can have in the tiniest thing teaches me to slow down and make the moment matter. When we go for a walk they spot a butterfly, when we go for a drive they notice the sky and predict the days weather. It’s so easy to focus on 'the destination' but listening to them find these tiny joys grabs me, stops me and forces me to be present and slow in the moment.
When my kids show empathy it teaches me to show more of it too. My heart explodes when I see them being kind to another, and showing empathy is such big kindness.
I've never been called patient, but my kids help me get better at 'regulating my emotions' - as I am helping them learn the same. I can’t always let their emotions pass over me but the times I can, they unfold like a little frond because you’ve truly seen them. Watching this demonstration, teaches me to do the same.
We didn't know how to be a parent before we were one, and it's a journey full of lessons. It’s so easy to feel guilt, but if we can be open to the lessons our children give us, we can feel comfort in the fact that as they grow - we do too.