The path to becoming a better parent –like most every road to personal growth and mastery – begins with self-examination.
–John Gottman Ph.D
Parenting is hard. It is especially difficult if we are not even aware of how our behavior is shaping our children’s. They learn first by observing the people in their environment and mirroring their behavior patterns because they are trying to figure out how our world works and what is acceptable. It may not be readily apparent how deeply our own emotional state affects them, but it is an alarming reality. Especially if you are like me and are highly reactive first, and thoughtful afterwards. You can rest assured that I have to apologise often for my behavior, especially to my son who has not yet the mental capabilities to understand why it is that I am mean to him all of a sudden. He cannot understand that I’m in a bad mood from something completely unrelated to him; usually. When I catch myself at it, I feel horrible because I know that unlike me he does not just accept that I’m having a bad day, he thinks that he’s at fault, and that’s not healthy for his emotional well-being and self-esteem. It isn’t fair to him, as my behavior towards others is MY responsibility despite my mood, not his. That is why it is essential that I notice how my behavior affects him, and to slow down and figure out why I reacted the way I do and make the changes to correct it at its source. The first step is to NOTICE, and that requires cultivating MINDFUL AWARENESS in each moment and this practice is a great tool for learning to parent consciously.
What does this quote say to you?