So who’s the rotten one?
A. The kid you’ve seen in the grocery store who wants everything on the shelf and who’s terrorizing the store, throwing the crazy tantrum and crying all the way through?
B. The mother to that kid who’s finally lost it and is red in the face and shaking her finger at her child while her voice elevates and threats of spankings or harsh words of anger and frustration are spewing from her lips?
We’ve all had a bad day, so a one time event is not the topic of this post. What is, is consistent behavior like this. So, what’s the issue? Is is nature or nurture? The eternal psychological debate right? (for all of those psychology majors out there.)
Sadly I see this a lot, too often for my liking really, and it breaks my heart. I’ve been in the mother’s shoes and can empathize with her and her frustration. After all, who knows what kind of day she’s had before coming to the store, not to mention all the other issues and challenges that life presents mothers; so in many ways I can completely understand her reaction.
I also feel great pain in my heart as I watch the child shutter in humiliation and fear as this all takes place. I can’t help but imagine what their day-to-day life might be like in such an environment. I worry about how they might be treated at home if their mother is willing to treat them like this in public. I think many of us have probably been on both sides of this situation, both as an observer and participant.
I’m not going to say that either party is in the right and even the brightest psychologists will debate this to some extent. I try to avoid jumping to conclusions and be slow to judge, giving both the parent and child the benefit of the doubt. What I can say is, based on my own experiences, observations, and research is this:
Of the two parties, one has more experience in life, has greater understanding of how things work, and has or should have, more patience than the other. Don’t get mad at me yet though…. read on.
I am one to believe that while all of us are born with different personalities and traits, we aren’t born as evil creatures with the single purpose of ruining our parent’s lives (although I know some moms would even seriously debate this right as I write this ). However, our role as a parent is to teach.
Here’s my what I’d like to get across. By shifting my perspective on this issue, I have noticed a great change as a parent. Here’s what we can do:
1. Recognize that it is more likely that we are inherently bad as parents than we are inherently bad as children. In other words, instead of accepting that our children are rotten, we need to accept the possibility that our children misbehave because we have failed to teach them correct principles. To some degree, the behavior of our children is a direct reflection of the principles we’ve taught them or have failed to teach them. It is our job to accept that, analyze the situation, recognize the problem, and search for solutions to teach effectively and remedy the situation.
2. To do so, we can swallow some bitter “pride” serum and accept our weakness. Don’t fret, our weaknesses can become strengths. (Ether 12:27). It is our job to work at becoming a better teacher and by doing so, we can become better parents. As we do, we’ll see the behavior of our children change for the better, and this will encourage us to continue in this upward trend. We will become happier parents and our children will be happier. Together we can have a happy life:) You see….. Happy Family…= … Happy Life!
3. The third element needed to accomplish this is patience. If we expect our children to be patient, then we must be able to be patient with them. We must remember, we need to be patient with our children the same way we’d like heaven to be patient with us as discussed in my earlier post “Becoming the Best Parent.” Change doesn’t take place for any of us over time and seeing change may take some time, but consistent effort is key.
I hope you’ll share both your frustrations and success in this regard. Please share with me how you’ve been able to address these situations and offer and suggestions you might have to help others.
Thanks again and best wishes!