There are many things involved with parenting that we don’t take the time to think about on a regular basis because it comes so natural. There are also parenting situations that appear to be so normal that most of us don’t give much thought or question to the way we were taught. Imagine telling someone that they’re wrong or that they cannot do something, all with the reasoning, “because I said so” or better yet, not being able to admit to someone proving you wrong, that you’re in fact, the one in the wrong. Probably not that hard to imagine given that just about every parent in America exercises the unwritten rule that children can’t be right, shouldn’t debate with adults, and aren’t deserving of apologies when they prove adults wrong. As crazy as it’d be not to give another human an explanation when telling them they’re wrong or apologizing when warranted, we suddenly lose that respect when it comes to our children, why?
In situations outside of my child, I have never been the one to shy away from being wrong and/or apologizing when it’s needed. It was not initially clear to me when the small habit of teaching him, “I’m right because I’m the adult,” started to develop. Now, of course this isn’t word for word what I teach him, but when thinking about it, this is how insane it comes out when taking away from children solely based on age/status. We were going back and forth and w/o any solid reason other than thinking I knew better, I told Aiden he was wrong about how something worked. He politely proved to me I was wrong and even provided the reasons to support me being wrong. This stopped me in my tracks mainly because it’s not everyday that a 3 year old knows how to prove someone wrong with facts. The other reason being it took me back to my times as a child, being annoyed with adults thinking they knew everything.
It seems that when we become parents, we lose our ability to admit when we are wrong and/or apologize to our children. As noted before, this is something I have experienced as a child myself, watching friends & family have children growing up, all the way into becoming a parent. With this being a norm around me, it never stopped me from questioning the reason behind it. In addition to questioning, it has also served as a long standing parenting pet peeve of mine. That is, up until I found myself being that same parent. When having my experience it caused me to step back and question the messages I want Aiden to receive from me and my parenting styles. It made me think about why I was so uncomfortable apologizing. In the midst of these thoughts and trying to wrap my head around how to handle the situation next time, one word kept ringing, and it was ‘pride.’ Something that can easily sneak up in parenting, but doesn’t always mix the best. As I explored deeper into thoughts, pride was the exact block between me being able to comfortably say, “I apologize for saying you were wrong Aiden, because it was me in the wrong.”
I understand, that not all parents believe it to be as big of a deal, but I will be the first to say that it is. I’ll also be the first to say that trying to teach a 3 year old that his thoughts are valid will probably serve me better than trying to get a 13 year old Black boy in America to believe it later down the line. We often times save tasks and teachings for our children, when the reality is it all starts the day we bring them into this world. I want to challenge parents over the next month to look at some areas where pride and parenting mix for you! In addition to looking at the areas, find ways in which you can exercise less pride and more parenting. As we know admitting you’re wrong is only one of the many ways we see pride take over parents.
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