Am I Messing Up My Kids?

I have a confession to make.  I am not proud and it is hard for me to share this.  This week, I told my ten-year-old daughter who was arguing with her 4-year-old siblings about something absurd to 'shut it.'  It was not one of my finest moments.  I can not undo it although I wish that I could.

For myself and many of the parents I work with, the question that haunts us all is the same, "Am I messing up my kids?" (Although, if I am being honest, there is often an f-bomb in the way I think about that question.)  If you've thought it, you're not alone.  I have taken coursework in childhood and adolescent development and read countless books on healthy parenting, and still I struggle with this question.  And I totally blow it with my kids sometimes.  You might not like the answer to this question of whether we are messing up our kids... because... the answer is yes.  And no.  Or no and yes depending on what feels better to you.  

The truth is that the choices we make as parents do impact our kids.  Those moments of imperfection are huge opportunities to teach our kids that it's okay to be imperfect.  I have apologized to my daughter numerous times for my outburst and let her know that even moms make mistakes.  Through my actions, I have taught her that it's okay to not be perfect all of the time.  I am trying to teach her to embrace her imperfection, grow and make reparation as I do.  And at the end of it, she will not be perfect.  She will be imperfect just as I am, just as everybody else is and the sooner she can accept that, the happier she will be.  Sometimes, it's in the moments of imperfection that we are able to teach our children the most.  

So yes, through our imperfection, we raise imperfect children who grow up to be imperfect adults with struggles and fears of their own.  

You are a good mom (or dad, depending on who is reading this).  You're a good parent to care enough to ask the question, to consider your impact on your child.   

Sometimes as parents, we need more support.  We need to look at where the bubbling irritability is coming from or how our needs aren't getting met and how that impacts our kids.  Often times parent think of therapy or self-care as indulgent or selfish.  Nope.  It's the opposite.  Take care of yourself so you can show up for your kids and teach them how to feel happy and fulfilled.  And of course, if you're worried that you are becoming or may become abusive with your children, you need to get support immediately.    

If you're struggling, I can help you find your way through it.  Parenting is not an easy endeavor.  Take it from a mom who just told her kid to 'shut it.'  Be compassionate with your imperfections.  Reach out if you need support -- whitney@beachcitiespsych.com or 310-989-6465.