I caught sight of something on Twitter the other day and most things which I disagree with or which I consider to be designed to make people feel crap for their parenting skills I just ignore but I guess this one must have hit a nerve.It was along the lines of "don't be afraid to say no and set firm boundaries, you don't have to shout at your children" there was more but I got cross and moved on before I committed it to memory. I felt like shouting (yes shouting) "do you think we don't all bloody know that and if life was that easy, we would all be perfect, model parents!"
There were actually two reasons why this post annoyed me. There was the blatantly patronising "you don't have to shout" statement, so let's deal with that first.
I know I don't have to shout. I know it is a sign that I have lost control. I know that on days I manage to keep the cross voice within, my children, well Callum, respond much better to the lessons I'm teaching them. I'm not proud of the shouty me and even as I can hear the cross words tumbling out of my mouth I am shouting (yes shouting) on the inside of my mind too, to stop shouting. It's not going to help and it isn't their fault it's mine and I am more likely cross at myself not the children.
If I hadn't left Millie in Callum's room with all his felt tip pens within reach, of course she never would have drawn on the walls (and belly). How can I blame her, wonderful bright colours there ready to use on a wonderfully empty slate of the painted wall. What child wouldn't be overcome with the temptations and she is 2 for f*** sake?!?!
Disclaimer: Although this has happened more than once (no I don't learn), this may not have actually resulted in me shouting but I am using it as an example. It may have been, I just can't recall.
See I know what I shouldn't do and why but some days I have pmt, some days I've had a bad day, some days I'm sleep deprived, some days I'm just grumpy for no obvious reason and yes I get cross and I shout.
Some days I may have already stayed calm and in control 20 times already and this is the one that makes me snap!
I'm human, so shoot me!
Telling me I don't need to shout does absolutely nothing but make me want to throw stuff.
I even know, after reading a good book by someone clever (reference at the bottom of this post), that what makes me shout is my monkey brain and that it is my human brain that is being muted as it is yelling stop inside my head. Unfortunately, I haven't finished the book so I haven't yet learned how to control my monkey brain so maybe once I have finished this will all be redundant anyway!
The second reason why this comment annoyed me is the bit about not being afraid to say no and to set clear boundaries.
Well sometimes I just don't know what the boundaries should be. I lost the book on "how to set good boundaries and stick to them"...well actually, I never read it in fact and I've no idea even if such a book exists...I am of course being facetious. As we all know there are no rules to parenting and even when we know the theories, it's a different thing to actually put them into action and stick to them 100% and even though I'm on my second time round with Millie, this doesn't make me any more wiser when it comes to knowing what the boundaries are. There are always going to be grey smudged lines that, quite frankly we might need to experiment with before we realise what the boundaries are. There are the obvious ones like don't let your child drink bleach, pulling the cats tail is a no no and playing with knives
So successful or good parenting isn't as straight forward as saying 'set clear boundaries', life just isn't that black and white and, quite frankly, I'm not sure I would want it to be.
So no I'm not a perfect parent and yes I do shout but quite frankly I do feel bad about it, I do apologise and I do explain why I shouted. In this alien, forever unpredictable world of parenting, I do know that I am trying my best and stating the bleeding obvious at me to make me feel even more guilty when I don't get it right will not change that!
And breathe! Rant over!
Ref: The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters