After having an argument with my teenage son this morning, I was kind of feeling like a parenting failure. I lost my cool. Raised my voice. He stomped out the door. Pretty typical parenting story, especially with a teenager in the house! The difference is: I am a parenting educator. I am supposed to know better. And I do! And so I felt like a failure. How can I teach parenting skills including not responding with anger if I can't even do it myself?
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But then, a few minutes later, I thought: “Wait a minute. Just because I know what to do doesn't mean I will always do it. It's the human condition. In fact, even Paul in the Bible struggled with this: “I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.” -Romans 7:19
So as I'm pondering this, I'm feeling kind of bad. But then I realize, knowing good parenting and communication skills doesn't always mean that things are going to turn out perfectly. Life is messy and unpredictable.
What it does mean is that even in the face of things going badly, I know what to do (even if I don’t pull it off perfectly). I know how to turn it around later today, after we’ve both cooled off. I know that the limits I set with my son are right (this is what caused his frustration and argument). And, I know that even if things don't turn out well in the long run, I did it right as a parent. Most of the time. :)
Lisa C. Greene is the mother of two children with cystic fibrosis, a certified parent coach, parenting educator, and public speaker. She is also the co-author with Foster Cline, MD of the award-winning Love and Logic® book “Parenting Children with Health Issues.” For free audio, articles and other resources, visit www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com.