Parental Script messages: I’m Okay…. If you do as I say!
Script... A decision I have made about myself, others and the world. Having made that decision I have 'ways of being' or responsive's, depending on where I am, who I am with or the situation I find myself in.
" Script... No matter what happens in a play or a production... always stick to the script!". " Every play needs its actor."
I'm Okay... I have Intrinsic value just by being alive which can never be taken away irrespective of what I do, say or Achieve
My early thoughts about parenthood and my children were very simple… Do as I say. Nothing filled me with more joy than when my son and daughter behaved and did exactly what I said. Without question or delay 😊. One of the many times this happened was with my son. He hadn’t been brushing his teeth properly so I spent some time with him going over it and reminding him to make sure it was done. The following day he didn’t have his teeth brushed properly!! The cheek of the boy, does he not understand what I told him to do? I’m sure I was clear with my instructions. I told him off about rushing and told him to make sure he brushed his teeth properly! I checked a couple of days later and he hadn’t done it properly! I was angry... really angry. This boy thinks he is the boss of this house! He needs to learn who is in charge. As I reflected on my emotions and the event, my anger and annoyance weren’t really about him not brushing his teeth, but it was rather about how that decision made me feel. When he didn’t complete the task, it made me feel small, not in control and failing as a parent. I never realised how much value I gave to compliance in terms of my Okayness as a parent, If my children were not compiling to all my instructions I was an inadequate parent… Maybe I’m not the only one who has had this thought. In my Nigerian culture ( and I would guess in others), the compliance of children was a necessity and the label of your child being a ‘good boy’ is almost the highest honour a child could receive and most importantly a parent could hear about their child from those around them. A disobedient/ not – compliant child was almost like a black mark on the child and the family. Getting back to the incident, as I reflected more in the next days and weeks on parenting and what our purpose was. I started to see the parenting end goal as not creating compliant/robotic children who do everything I say and actually don’t know why these things are important, but rather I see parenting as nurturing children so they can think and make good decisions. Part of learning is failing, part of learning to make good decisions is making bad ones! This mindset really allowed me to rid myself of the fantasy of mistakes not being integral to the learning and upbringing of my children! I'm getting more comfortable with my children being children and not doing everything I say ( which we all did when we were young but so easily forget) and rather than creating consequences for the way their actions make me feel, I'm able to concentrate on them and place clear boundaries that are there for their benefit not mine. We’re Okay even when children don’t listen! Because learning makes loadsssss of mistakes 😊.
Start to look at mistakes and bad decisions as opportunities for children to learn from rather than just be punished for.
Don’t let the opinions of others be a driving force behind how you manage your children in difficult times… all parents are going through similar things… You’re not alone.
You are OK, no matter what your children do.