First of all, if you are reading this, you must be questioning your own ability to parent. You are probably cringing, wondering to yourself, AM I a crappy parent? Read on to find out.
I’d like to start by reassuring you that I don’t think the majority of us are crappy parents. However, I do believe all parents act crappy from time to time.
Today was my daughters first swim meet of the season. I was sitting next to one of the moms I know, when her son walked up after finishing the 50 free. He asked her if she saw him swim and she nodded her head yes. What was your time, she asked? He responded 32 seconds. Her response actually made my heart hurt. He was excited about his time. In fact, for a first year swimmer he said he was proud of that time. What did mom say? That’s not a good time. It’s just not good enough.
There I was sinking lower in my chair. Was I that kind of parent ripping my child’s confidence away instead of building it up? Did my child’s success or failure depend on my expectation of her instead of what she was actually capable of? We all want our kid to win the race. When she comes in first place, we as a parent win because our child is better and faster and stronger than everyone else. The problem with that is there can only be one winner. We have to learn to be proud of our own child whether she comes in first or last. Imagine swimming a race with all you have only to step out of the pool and hear your own mother(who should be your biggest cheerleader) say “that was not good enough”. You are not good enough.
We’ve all done it to some extent or the other. The important point is to recognize it and stop that pattern right in its tracks. Are you perfect all the time? Are you the best at everything? Anything? Give your kid a break and make her feel good for having the dedication and commitment to step up and want to be in the race. Some kids don’t even make it that far. Do you like to be measured and compared to the people around you? He or she probably doesn’t either.