I get it. It’s hard to parent with confidence.
In an interview last year, John Krasinski shared that he never realized how hard his parents worked until he became a parent himself. “You realize they figured everything out by trial and error too,” Krasinski says, “and there’s something very humbling about that. I really connected to my parents even more, thinking of them as young parents, as I am now. I think you look back and realize what an incredible job they did and how dedicated they’ve been to you.”
His comment raises a point that every one of us parents should take to heart when our three-year-old snarls, “I hate you.” Or worse, when your 13-year-old says it.
The point Krasinski’s statement makes is this: Kids have no clue what our lives are like, and we should never take to heart what they say to us about the job we are doing.
Unfortunately, when our kids say mean things or act unappreciative, we make the colossal mistake of believing them.
When our kids say mean things, we often make the colossal mistake of believing them.
I find this peculiar. When my three-year-old granddaughter tells me that her pink pony can fly, I laugh, but when she tells me that I am a mean grandmother, I feel bad.
I’m sure that you do the same with your kids and grandkids. The truth is, we believe these comments because we desperately want to make sure that we are doing a really good job at this parenting, or grandparenting, thing. And when our kids tell us that we are doing a lousy job, we feel like lousy parents. Sure it stings, but we must quickly realize that they have no idea what they are talking about.
So here’s a New Years present that I want you to give yourself: make the gauge of your parenting come from your spouse and your own judgment, not from your kids. They’re adorable little stinkers, but they’ll let you down every single time.
I can say this because I know something about you. If you are reading this, I know that you are conscientious, hardworking, loving, and serious about being a good mom or dad. And you know what? Being those things is enough to be a good parent.
I can also say this because I’ve seen thousands of parents come through my office doors and I know the ones who try hard are doing a better job than they think they are. The problem is, they lack self-confidence because they are listening to their kids’ uninformed critiques about their parenting.
Many parents lack self-confidence from listening to their kids’ uninformed parenting critiques.
If you are worried about making sure that your kids have a good holiday, you’re a good parent. If you lose sleep over your kids at night worrying that they will end up with the wrong crowd, you’re a good parent. If you discipline your kids, love them to death and laugh with them on occasion, give yourself a pat on the back.