I’m sure you understand what role every character in your life plays but have you considered what role you play? If you’re like me you have envisioned your role in your loves one’s lives but have you evaluated what role you actually play? For example if you want to be a parent that fosters an emotionally secure relationship with your children have you considered if they view you in this light?
I was laying down for bed during one of my many sleepless nights and I started thinking about the disciplinary role I play with my children. Growing up my parents were monsters and I didn’t think of either of them very favorably. I always knew that I could and would be a better parent to my kids. While I consider myself to be a good Mother there are areas for improvement.
It’s often hard for me to put myself in other people’s shoes. I feel like I’m so hyper focused on my perspective that I forget to consider who I am to those around me. Perhaps to me complaining about the cleanliness of our house is entirely justified but maybe to my kids they see me as this OCD villain who is never happy with how hard they work, or try.
When talking to my oldest daughter I’m often times exasperated. It’s as though we are having the same conversations time and time again about the same behavioral issues. It’s a never ending battle and no form of punishment changes her behavior. As I was laying down for bed the other night, unable to sleep, I asked myself if I could accept her character defects* without demanding her to change.
Perhaps what I see as her being disrespectful may to her feel like she’s struggling to find her voice and properly express herself. Maybe to her I’m not listening or validating how she feels. One of my biggest pet peeves with other people is when I don’t feel like I’m heard or validated. I know that people will oppose what I think or feel, and that’s okay, just as long as I’m provided the opportunity to express myself and have my thoughts & feelings considered.
I admit that I struggle with this with my oldest daughter and that I don’t know why I struggle so much with her. I will notice that when I’m working with my two year old I’m much more patient and understanding. I break things down to simple terms and teach her how to properly express herself.
When Miablo was a toddler I was an entirely different person. I was still religious and had barely began forming healthy parenting methods. I didn’t want to spank but I hadn’t yet learned alternative parenting methods. So to her credit, Miablo has had a slow start because I lacked the skills I possess now. It’s almost as though my lack of skills early in her life are coming back to haunt me now. Because I never taught her these skills it’s almost a futile attempt to do it at her current age. (9)
The only solution I have is to keep trying, and to try harder. I need to frequently evaluate what role I play in her eyes as doing so will help me better parent her. Sure I’m justified in telling her not to speak to me in a disrespectful tone but I need to make sure she knows how to express the feelings that are triggering these outbursts. I don’t want her to grow up and I be her monster, I want to set a foundation so that when she’s “grown up” I’m her friend.
To be the parent I want to be I need to make sure my kids see me the same way I see myself. Perhaps this is a futile mission but it’s one worth fighting for. How devastating would it be to learn that I wasted 18 years playing the wrong role? While my self evaluation is important so is the evaluation of my children. I can’t be their best friend, yet, they will get mad at me and think I’m the worst Mother in the world. But at the end of the day does their evaluation of me align with who I want to be as their Mother? If I had to answer that today I would say, “Not yet, but close.” Where do you stand? Are you playing the role you want to be to your loved ones?
*This is a term is not intended to be derogatory but to explain our instinctive behavior and personality traits that often times don’t conform with our societal expectations or standards.