Losing The Plot? Unfortunately, It's On Us.

In the process of eating this bowl of pasta, I was interrupted to read to a toddler on the potty and wipe them.
I took the potty outside to rinse it and shut the barking dog up, because even though there was a full bucket of water right next to it, they wanted to drink from the empty one.

On my way past the laundry I put the wet washing into the basket and carried it to the back step. 
Feeling very organised I re-entered am eerily quiet lounge room to find green crayon being scrawled across a white cabinet.

I spray-and-wiped it off while being asked ten times to read a book called “Tap Girl” that doesn’t exist (at least not in our collection anyway).

Eventually I got to the rest of my food, hooray!

Some days I would’ve lost my temper completely, and today I was not even the smallest bit irritated by it all. 
This is a long-winded way of saying that if you’re a parent:

A. I hope you like your food cold and tea lukewarm (at best), and

B. Your kids’ behaviour has absolutely nothing to do with your emotional state. At all. Nada.

Young children do not have the brainpower to emotionally regulate themselves, to be wilfully malicious, to consciously force you to feel anything. It doesn’t matter how “bad” their behaviour is. They are communicating, being curious, being kids. We are the adults, and it is *always* about where we as parents are at, not what they as children are doing.

Every single reaction to their behaviour is YOUR stuff. YOUR wounds. YOUR triggers. YOUR unrealistic expectations. YOUR unmet needs

Every. Single. Time.

Now it almost goes without saying that some (or all) of your unmet needs are likely to be the product of our society’s complete dismissal of parenting as ‘real work’. Still, it is NOT the job of a child to meet those needs. Do not put big world problems on small shoulders.

Be angry at the system, be angry at the patriarchy. Punch pillows, stomp, yell and curse but please, please, do not tell your kids they have MADE YOU angry when actually, they haven’t.

If it slips out, calm down first, then apologise. Tell them it wasn’t their fault, and that you’re sorry for saying it was. Tell them in an age-appropriate way why it is you are angry, and seek to reconnect on their terms.
If you were a child tasked with “making your parents happy”, or told by an adult “it makes me sad when you don’t hug me”, or any variation in this theme, I’m sorry this happened to you. If you are an adult who’s said similar, you can change tack with your children from right now.

Because like it or not... your kids don’t owe you anything.


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