Well stop! Not everything you do in life is going to be perfect, or for you to become the perfect parent or even ‘surrogate’ parent. From a young age your child is picking up on everything from what you say to how you do things for them and around them. Not only that, their characters are being built not only by you as a parent but even more so with the other children they associate with, their nannies, teachers, grandparents, siblings, uncles and aunties. There is so much that they are taking in, from good manners to bad manners that builds them into the little characters they are today.
Don’t blame yourself for your child’s bad behaviour
You, as a parent, are not the prime target here if things go wrong. Yes you could keep blaming yourself and how you feel it was ‘you’ that could have done better with certain stages of your child’s upbringing. You brought this child into the world so therefore you should have done everything perfectly for them. How you should have made their surroundings and environment that much better, that much more enjoyable; less tempers flying around if they did something wrong or naughty or more hugs, even when you could hardly keep your eyes open after a hard day at the office.
Control your temper
Of course as adults we should learn how to control seriously bad tempers or if it’s out of hand, seek help with anger management; no child or other family members should have to deal with it. Remember none of us are perfect so we shouldn’t feel ashamed to seek help. There are some situations in your child’s upbringing where situations can’t be helped and your response might have been to let off steam at your child after a long day at work. Did they understand the dynamics of your day at work? Of course not! Do they understand the inconsistencies of your day when you arrive home and your boss has been at your throat all day – no. How resilient are children? Extremely! They are also very fragile and of course we know this as adults.
Children need grounding, discipline and structure
What is most important is that you don’t blame yourself every time a situation arises when your child behaves badly, or blame someone else who may just be looking after them and perhaps doing you a favour. The reality is that children need grounding, they need discipline and structure and without these things they may as well be living in a bowl of mashed up jelly! What I’m saying is this – stop blaming yourself. Start looking at their social group of friends, the different stages in their early years; how from just turning seven years old there is yet another huge transformation and hurdle when they are just coming out of infant stage. Look at their hormones…yes boys have just as much testosterone in them when they are younger as when they are adults. Do you see why they run riot sometimes? How about the characteristics of the child? Are they a strong personality type? This can be very hard to deal with, especially if you are caring for child who is not your own.
Don’t do everything for your children
As parents you need to look at the whole picture. Most adults working and around children are pretty much doing their best to bring up the next generation. Every parent, family member, parent, teacher or guardian dealing with children has their struggles, good days and bad. What can you do to overcome this? Build structure in your home environment, encourage the children to lay the table instead of you doing it for them; encourage them to put their own clothes in the washing basket and encourage the older siblings to be great leaders at home by being good role models to their younger siblings. Nannies and teachers, governesses and au pairs take note – build structure with the children since your job is to guide them to be independent for the long term future, not to do everything for them. How will a child learn and grow if there is no guidance or structure on how they should build their independence?
There is still room for growth with bad behaviour
So stop blaming yourself as a parent. Children have to build their own characters with an adult’s guidance. By doing this a child will learn to focus more, to understand that not everything in life is going to be done for them. You as a parent are the building block of your child’s life. You are their guide and if you keep blaming yourself for things, then how will your child learn to adapt to the real world? Let them learn and make mistakes; yes they may have bad behaviour every now and again or all the time which needs that much more structure and needs to be curbed, but with bad behaviour there is still room for growth whilst they are still young enough to be guided by you as a parent.
Allow your children to learn by their own mistakes
Allow them to grow and learn by their mistakes, including involving themselves sometimes with the wrong social group at school. Of course as parents do your best to not allow it to happen but all these things build their characters for a later stage in life when they are adapting to the real world. They should have learned by then that their actions with that group of other naughty kids got them into trouble! Don’t feel bad as a parent, just keep guiding them as best you can and they will soon follow. Consistency, structure and persistence as a parent are of paramount importance for a child to stay on track! So stop blaming yourself for the bad behaviour and just stay persistent and consistent with structure and freedom for your sanity and theirs.