The Night I Threw A Book At My Kid
The Night I Threw A Book At My Kid
Mistake Monday – A Story About Imperfection & Grace
I’d love to tell you that this story was from a LONG time ago, before I was a Positive Parenting Educator…
But it’s not.
You see, it’s so very, very, very important for me to make sure all of you understand that this work of Positive Parenting is NOT about perfection, but instead progress & having the right ideals.
Back to the story…
A few months ago, after a very long day amidst an extremely busy season of life (building a new website & online programs is a wild ride!), I was sitting in bed with my kids at dusk, reading, doing homework & working again on my laptop. My stress levels were high with a looming deadline, lack of sleep & lagging immune system (I think I had 3 colds with-in two months last fall!).
Now I’m sure none of you have bedtime drama (wink wink), but in our home, we definitely go through periods when we realize we’ve sunk into nagging & bickering before it’s lights out. After teaching Positive Parenting for 5 years & practicing it in my home for nearly a decade, I’ve gotten pretty good at identifying patterns (and then creating positive change as a result).
But this time was different. My intense workload, combined with my husband starting a new job had left us low on time to commit to strengthening our family & we had NOT spent the time we should have to address the pattern & create solutions to make bedtime better.
So once again, I was feeling stressed at 7pm and anticipating the misbehavior, bickering, sloth-like motions & tears when…..
My daughter said “Mom, wanna see me do a flip?” (as she was sitting on the end of my bed!).
I said “No babe, I don’t…please brush your teeth, it’s time for bed.”
In her patented negotiator ways, she said “No, just look, it’s really easy.”
Before I knew it, she was somersaulting towards my glass lamp & full drink on the nightstand where it ended with a bang. She wasn’t hurt & nothing was broken, but in my head, in that split second, I was sure she had smashed the lamp & spilled the drink & I had the most annoying child on Earth.
Without doing ANY of the things I preach (pause button, self-calming, walk away, limit sticking with integrity, healthy emotion management, logical consequences), I blew my lid! In one split second, I screamed at her “What is wrong with you? Why can’t you just listen?” & the small Star Wars book I was reading with my son got chucked at her head. Yes, at her head.
I think it ended up hitting her throat & because it was small & soft (thank God!), it didn’t break the skin & she wasn’t wounded, but she was terrified & hurt (both her body & her heart).
I stormed into her room, pulled down her covers and said “Straight to bed! I’m so done with you!”
We now had a full blown volcanic explosion going on in our home. I was stomping around, my daughter was screaming crying begging me for forgiveness and my son was starting to sob (he gets upset when others are upset) and my poor husband was hating life too.
I kept up for the next few minutes with justification of my behavior because she had “Made me become so angry”. (which I preach is a false belief, no one MAKES us feel or act a certain way).
All the while, my heart screaming at me…
“Stop Wendy, just slow down, the lamp isn’t broken, the drink isn’t spilled and you don’t have to handle the situation like this. If you pause, you can calm down, find a better solution & teach with great integrity.”
Once I had started, I couldn’t pull back though so I kept trudging forward with anger…got both the kids into bed, slammed off the lights & retreated to my room for an explosive cry of hopelessness & embarrassment.
I mean I’m a positive parenting teacher, what is wrong with me?
My amazing husband hugged me and said babe, “She’s a tough cookie, I can see why you got so mad”. His incredible skill to support me while also not justifying my mistakes is a blessing I will never take for granted. He is the ultimate encourager and comforter.
But here’s the reality. I had made a mistake, a big mistake.
Growing up, I hated being in a family where explosive anger & the feeling of being “unsafe” was common and I sure as heck don’t believe in it as a necessary way of life for my family today.
But I also have done a whole lot of self-growth work over the last 5 years and the grace I have for myself these days is pretty high. Maybe explosive anger isn’t something you struggle with, but what triggers do you have & what are your kids fabulous at “bringing to the surface”?
Yes, I’m human and YES… I make mistakes. I am SURE that there were other ways to handle that situation that night which would have taught the important lessons of “Listening to your mom”, “Honoring bed time rules / routines” and “Beds are for sitting (not flipping)”. Like not maybe, but for SURE there were better ways that evening could have gone down.
But another thing I’ve learned through this work is that there is usually a silver lining & an incredible learning opportunity from every mistake.
So as I tried to get myself to sleep that night, I thought of how I would talk to my daughter in the morning, the ways I would re-do the situation, the “make-up” I would extend to her, the lessons I would explain that I think we had both learned & the apology & request for forgiveness I would ask for. Modeling imperfection & cleaning up your messes is something that is important we all do as parents. Perfection is not the goal.
So here’s the moral of the story families & why I’m telling you this incredibly embarrassing & vulnerable story….
This work of Positive Parenting has solidified my ideals:
Teaching my children with respect, compassion, empathy AND firmness is my mission and I’m strong in my belief that all kids deserve dignity, safety & unconditional love.
I’m serious about staying “in learning” as I continue to grow & learn throughout life. I’m figuring it out, just like everyone else and I’m beyond grateful to have the curriculum of positive parenting to support me.
By no means does learning this work mean you’re going to be perfect, or expected to be perfect in any area of life, especially as a parent.
There are going to be days when you yell & shame, bribe & threaten & hopelessly give in to their demands.
But these days DON’T define you & they certainly don’t define your ideals.
You are part of a movement that believes children deserve respect. That they are growing and learning & making mistakes (just like us) & they deserve to be treated with dignity. You also believe in strong limits, firm boundaries & raising children who treat others kindly & honor rules, boundaries & their parents, so you’re in it not because you have to be, but because your heart tells you this is important work to pursue.
Cheers to having that strong moral compass, even when we make big mistakes & get off track. Progress, not perfection is a motto I hope you’ll live by daily too!
The Foundations Course is a great place to make a commitment and expand your grace for yourself as well as your parenting toolkit! Through 4 powerful, yet concise modules you’ll be on your way to solidifying your ideals while expanding your parenting toolkit in incredibly effective & important ways. This course opens it’s doors a few times a year to new families … Click here to learn more & join the waitlist for the next time the program opens for enrollment.