No matter how much you prepare yourself for the “right” kind of parenting, new challenges come your way all the time, making you introspect about whether you are doing our job correctly.
That’s what happened with mom and education consultant Barb from Baltimore, who recently learnt an important parenting lesson from none other than her four-year-old daughter Jahara.
In a long social media post, the mother narrated an incident when her daughter and her cousin were arguing in the backseat of their car. “I looked into my rear view mirror and said ‘Jahara, what is going on?’ (This question is very important to the story.) She said, ‘K keeps taking my toys.’”
And just while the mother was telling the kids about sharing toys, her daughter said, “‘I feel sad that you always think I did something wrong. I’m always asked first. Please ask everyone else and then me.’”
“My four year effectively communicated to me how she felt (as a direct result of my behavior), what she needed (defined method of accountability from me to her) and made a request of me (an established boundary that ensures her need is met,” wrote Barb.
It often happens that parents blame and interrogate kids without even knowing about the circumstances completely. Yes, it is always easier to question your own child is these situations but it may negatively impact him or her too since, as Barb mentions, there is always a sense of shame connected to causing harm. She acknowledged, “Each time I asked my child directly what happened, the message she received was that I perceived her to be the source of the harm. That is what ticked her emotional response to be sadness and anger communicated through yelling and running away.”
So, what did Barb learn as a parent? “So now I’m sitting here, coming up with ways to remind myself to slow down and ask the other person first. I’m also going to reframe the question and see if that helps. I’m so grateful that we have created the conditions for our children to challenge us,” she added.