Glenn's Weekly Motivational-How to Fail At Parenting

October 8, 2019
parenting fails

Photo by Little Bee 80 iStock / Getty Images Plus

Parenting is a lot like golf. There are some days I hit a perfect tee shot with seemingly no effort and it lands on the green. Other days, I am going over my stance, posture, and swing height in my mind, only to make a large divot and get kicked off the course. Obviously thinking way too much about it. Why is the art of parenting so hard?

Now that we’re through the diaper phase, I realize that the art of just keeping them alive was much easier than learning how to talk to them and solve problems. Most days I feel I’m failing, but I won’t give up. Even though I am in the communication business, communication is where I struggle the most.

I am currently reading a book called “Voice Lessons For Parents..What to Say, When To Say it, and How To Listen”. A few chapters into the book and I feel like I should be walking around with a scarlet P on my shirt so everyone knows I am a Parent Failure. I’m not writing for validation, I’m writing to say I can’t talk effectively to my kids a lot of the time.

The author goes on to say that it’s not just the tone you use with kids, it’s the cadence, the timbre, the expression, the pitch, the eye contact, the volume, how you bite your lip when you’re impatient, how you cross your arms when you're tense. Basically, every verbal and non verbal cue that your child will pick up on and act accordingly. This brings me to my golf analogy and how you need to be thinking of 50 things at once in order to hit the ball. Damn it, another divot.

Oh, I start off nice, talking in a calm tone and getting on their level, until I don’t get the desired reaction, and then I go into “don’t lose it” mode, taking deep breaths, visibly upset and passive aggressive, to which my kids continue to poke and prod until I yell and then they yell back, and then someone gets sent to their room and whatever I was asking for ceases to happen.

I saw an interview with Tyler Perry recently who said that he was never talked to as a child, that he was threatened and talked at. His parents didn’t really care to hear anything other than yes sir and OK and it made me think, how often are we talking at our kids instead of having a conversation?

I’m guilty as changed. I want my 3 to listen to me and do as I say and when I say it. I am less interested in having a conversation with them than I am getting their work done and in bed during the week so I can have US time with Netflix and the Bota Box. I raise my voice to be heard, when in reality, it does the opposite and I’m rattled and they’re rattled.

I had the opportunity to have a 4 hour car ride with just my daughter recently and you know what? We talked. I listened. We shared stories and genuinely bonded. And not only did I love her, I actually liked her too. What an amazing gift to make the relationship more than me barking orders.

Kids are smarter than we give them credit for, and no matter what age, they know how to manipulate the system for their own selfish needs. But there’s one thing that all kids want and that’s love, and the feeling that you’re listening to them.

Repeat what they tell you so they know you’re listening to them. Don’t ask one word answer questions like “How’s school”? Engage with them and ask them how they did on their math test in Mrs. Smith’s class and what they’re favorite thing at lunch was. Mine was always Fiestadas. Kids know when you’re listening, or when you’re acting like you're listening in between texts.

Talking calmly to your kid allows them to react calmly to you. You always get what you give. When we react as parents is when our kids react to us.

It’s not always easy or possible, but thinking of those 50 things you should be doing while talking to your kid will help keep you accountable so that maybe...just maybe, that number will start to decrease because it’ll all be second nature.

Good luck with your golf game, your parent game, and your Fiestada game..Wow, I'm hungry

xoxo Glenn