Stop Criticizing Yourself
We all want our children to be gentle on themselves. We cringe when we hear them speak critically about themselves, and we admonish them, usually gently, to stop. Yet all too often, we use a completely different standard on ourselves.
One of the single most important things that you can do for your children and yourself is to completely STOP criticizing yourself!
Just like I teach you to look at your children and figure out whether they are unable or unwilling to do what you want, you can use that same lens to evaluate your own behavior. Sometimes, like when you vow to quit yelling, but don’t have enough support to carry through, you are unable, despite your great intentions. You may need some tools like breathing exercises or reminders around the house to help you remember what to do in the moment (we’re going to have an amazing speaker on the show soon to talk about tools to help you stop yelling!). You may benefit immensely as I did from doing cognitive behavioral therapy, or other processes that help you change your thoughts in order to stop the trigger to yell in the first place. But whatever you need to support yourself, the fact is, if you don’t have that support, you will keep yelling.
Getting mad at yourself and criticizing yourself will only make it worse, whether you are unable or unwilling to do what needs to be done.
Other times, due to stress or sheer overwhelm and fatigue, you may be unwilling to do the steps that you know will help you parent better. Again, be gentle on yourself. Guaranteed you aren’t a bad or lazy parent, or you wouldn’t have taken the time to be here getting tips to be a great parent. Certainly you will want to look at how to manage your stress, overwhelm, fatigue or frustration levels so that you don’t find yourself unwilling to do what you know you should do next time. But again, getting angry with yourself will only add to the pressure, not help you to do better next time.
And of course, throughout all of this, your children are watching you like hawks, even when they don’t appear to be. I remember sometimes playing and watching my mom out of the corner of my eye! When they hear you say things like, “Wow. That’s not how I wanted that to go. Next time I’ll….” Instead of, “I’m such an idiot. Why did I screw that up again?”, you’ll be modeling for them powerful ways of approaching the world that they will naturally copy, instead of having to consciously learn it.
And you’ll have the huge benefit of transforming your own inner voice to a gentle, wise and supportive one, instead of the inner critic that most people suffer with for life. What a huge gift to give yourself AND your kids!