Do you ever have those days when you feel like you can never win? Like you can’t do anything right, especially at home? Things are going pretty good at work. You have a handle on the issues and the stress of juggling it all. Then out of the blue, you get shocked by an ugly response your child had to an action you took at home. You did something and didn’t consult them first because it didn’t occur to you they had a say in the decision. After all, you are the parent and they are the child. It can be devastating, especially if you didn’t see it coming. It rocks your entire world and now affects your ability to focus at work.
Note: When it’s from a young adult child it can rock us even more. On the outside they can be so social and confident but on the inside they are insecure and selfish. We think we’ve raised them to come and calmly talk out an issue if they have a problem. When they don’t, especially when it involves us, we are hurt. We’ve got to give them some grace though, as they are growing up and don’t see the complete picture. The world still primarily revolves around them in their reality. We all know we went through this stage ourselves. If you aren’t sure, just ask your mother!
Now back to how we should respond. It isn’t healthy or productive to too often let issues like this affect us so dramatically. (I say “too often” because we are human with feelings and it will happen occasionally!) The main thing to be careful about, is that we do not assume the responsibility for the (over)reaction of our children, especially our older children. Every responsible parent I know truly has the best interests of their children at heart. We are good parents. (Yup, I count myself in the honored yet sometimes doubting group!) Our kids may will not always see that.
So, after you let it go with a good cry or some heavy duty exercise (no heavy drinking please even though that wine looks inviting), what can you do? One thing that works for me is to ask myself this question…
“Even though I hurt, did I truly do the right thing?”
Even through the tears (which happens because we care), your gut will have an answer. Listen to it. Go quickly and get feedback from another responsible parent (aka, the “network”) if you must. If you decide you did nothing wrong, then don’t rush to apologize when an apology isn’t appropriate. Instead, say something like: “I understand. I love you and am sorry you don’t think I do anything right. I’m doing the best I can.”
Do not wait for or expect a response. The hope is that they will get it someday. Trust in your efforts to raise an effective child. I believe they will if you’re doing your job.
Stand firm and know that there are other parents going through the same issue. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to understand they do not have to be involved in every decision. And, in life, they never will be. Then, try your best to focus back on work so you can bring home the bacon!
Thanks for letting me share with you. If you’ve got something to add, please do!