I am not a perfect parent, I am not a perfect person and that’s a good thing. I might want to be a truly enlightened mother who never gets irritated, angry or fearful, but that’s just not the reality. I am, however, honest with our children. They see all parts of me. I do not hide myself from them. There is a belief that children should never see their parents cry, get angry or be fearful. But that’s like saying, don’t let your children see you are human. I feel hiding our emotions from our children make them scarier. Children are very perceptive and they know when something is wrong with us. If we hide our emotions they may feel confused and also learn not to trust their own sense of things.
I am not saying we should burden our children to solve our emotional problems or direct our emotions towards them, but rather we can be an example of what it is like to be human and how to deal with our emotions and feelings. Most of us know that suppressing our feelings, just leads to more pain.
I haven’t been very well lately and I have been feeling very tired, so the other day when our children started arguing I got cross. I snapped at both my daughter and son, I said something mean. They both just looked at me and said, “Well, that wasn’t a very nice thing to say“. I was still in a mood, so I just stormed off in a huff. Later, when we were together I said, “Hey guys sorry about earlier, I am just feeling so tired and fed up with this illness, but I shouldn’t have taken it out on you“, they both replied in a casual tone, “Aww, don’t worry about it mum, it happens to us all“.
I am also honest when our children are doing something that I am fearful about. If I feel our son has been on his iPad for a long time, I will tell him I am concerned. I have explained to him what my feelings are about taking breaks, moving around, going outside every day and watching screens before bed. I have given him the scientific facts but have done my best not to scare him. I actually say, “I am feeling worried about you being on the iPad for so long“. Together, we try to come up with a solution that fits both our son’s need for iPad time and mine, as a mother who cares for her child’s wellbeing.