Parents make mistakes

Parents make mistakes


I know this is hard to believe but teachers and parents make mistakes:)
When my son was very young, he did something that greatly irritated me. I don’t remember what it was and it really isn’t tantamount to this story. My reaction was swift however. I said to my little boy, ” I love you but I don’t like you.” As the words came out of my mouth, I knew they were just plain wrong. Of course I loved him (and still do) and I do really like him.

There are many things one can learn from this interaction.

The first is to focus on the action and not the person. What I could have/ should have said is “I love you but I don’t like what you just did.”

And it would have been productive if I told him exactly what he did that was irritating. Words are powerful.

It reminds me of my own childhood experience: a teacher graciously volunteered his time to take a group of students horseback riding. It was a wonderful day, full of fun and exuberance. The guide led us into a full gallop. We were riding through deep ruts and I was worried about the horse faltering. I pulled the reins to the left and veered out of the path. At the finish of this exhilarating ride, my teacher said to me, “Don’t ever do that again!” To this day I don’t know what I did wrong…. How does one learn from that!

And finally, in general parents do the best they can. Learn to forgive yourself. Parents make mistakes. If these mistakes are isolated (and not abusive) children will survive. My son is a remarkable, successful confident man, despite my parenting. I have never asked him if he was impacted by my words; I am not brave enough to ask.

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