Thursday, February 7, 2013

Is it me?

Have you ever had something happen that makes you a little self-conscious—makes you ask, "Is it me?"

There are typical scenarios that prompt typical responses. People in a meeting may give you a liberal amount of personal space that prompts a quick and subtle sniff of the underarms or breathing into your hand that either confirms or refutes the reason for ample stretching room.

When the demeanor of the kids falls more rapidly then the stock market in 2008, parents can, and often do, internalize the situation and ask, "Is it me? Am I that bad of a parent?"

The other day my kids were a perfect four-for-four in breaking down and crying. They fell like dominoes, one right after the other. I internalized it and thought my parenting techniques were sub-par.

Is it me?

After some thought, I came to the conclusion it is me. I made some decisions that weren't popular with the kids, but they were the right decisions. Boundaries were set, the kids pushed them too far and realized there are consequences to their behaviour. My attempt to teach them to make good decisions (or at least follow rules that lead to good decision making) wasn't totally effective on those with a less developed prefrontal cortex. And the outcome was an emotional outburst, or rather four of them.

Just like a dog doesn't realize the fence protects it from running into traffic and getting hurt, kids don't realize parents set boundaries for their good. We want to ensure our children grow up to be the person God created them to be, to realize the full potential inherent in them. It's an awesome responsibility, and at times you need to be unpopular because, well, because you're the parent with the fully developed brain (and a good dose of grace and guidance from the Holy Spirit) who is in a much better situation to make decisions.

So when the kids are having a meltdown that makes Chernobyl look like a spring thaw and you feel like it's because of you, take some comfort that it probably is you—and that's a good thing.

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