A few weeks ago, I got a call from my husband after he took my daughter to school. When he got there, the teacher talked to him privately about a minor scuffle she got into the day before with another student.
It’s not that big of a deal, the teacher assured him. The issue was immediately resolved and she has apologized on her own to her classmate. They get along fine now but the teacher figured that is was something we ought to know.
We appreciate what she did because it was a really serious wake up call for us. We know it’s not serious but being semi-paranoid, our mind starting going into worse case scenarios. Does this mean she’ll eventually become a bully in school? Would she become violent? What if something bad happened? What if, what if, what if?
As parents we’re often blind to the faults in our children. To most of us, our children these beings made of pure, unlimited potential. We often downplay their flaws and we delude ourselves into thinking that we’re the only ones who know about it.
I guess that’s why it was so jarring for me and my husband to hear it someone else. And to be called out for what she did, it forced us to reflect on our parenting and on whether or not we’re prepared for instances that are more serious than this.
It’s how we deal these situations that make or break our kids. Are we going to be so overwhelmed with anger, disappointment, and sadness that we end up lashing out or hold back from our kids? Or are we going to swallow our pride, think about things rationally, and turn these situations into teachable moments? How will we know if that situation calls for a lesson or punishment? How can you deliver a lesson without making it sound like a lecture? What’s the appropriate punishment for different situations?
I know I’m probably overthinking this but it made me realize how grossly unprepared I am in dealing with this aspect of parenting. Providing for their physical needs is easy. Guiding them through social situation and providing a moral compass is hard especially when you yourself don’t know how to deal with these things yet. As parents, we try to be sensible as we can, hoping that it would rub off on our kids. So when our kids do something bad, we believe it’s a reflection of how we are as parents. Because where else would they learn these things but their parents! (Peer pressure doesn’t apply yet, she’s still in kindergarten)
I’ve read a lot of parenting books and the only thing I know for sure is that kids mirror what they see at home. So right now, my husband and I promised one another (and we’re trying very hard) to be conscious of everything we do or say around our child. That means fighting fairly (as much as we could), toning down our ‘colorful’ language (getting there) and choosing discussion topics with care (failing so far since my husband and I love to talk about everything).
Basically, we’re trying to be the best versions of ourselves. We’re not perfect. Our daughter isn’t perfect. But we’re trying to be the best that we can be hoping our child would model our behavior. It’s hard work but if it makes our daughter a better version of ourselves, then it’s all going to be worth it.