The Daily Groove


Be Real

Presumably, you want to be a respectful, creative, loving parent — and you'd rather not ever be coercive with your child. Wonderful!

But what about those times when you're just in a bad mood and don't feel like being a super-parent? Must you sacrifice your authenticity, fake a smile, and go through the motions?

You can try, but it won't work. Even if self-sacrifice "works" superficially, it leads to resentment or rage that eventually hurts everyone.

Here's a twofold alternative: First, give yourself permission to be real. Stop trying to hide how you really feel. (Kids always know intuitively how their parents feel, anyway.)

Second — and most important — make a solemn commitment to take responsibility for your feelings. In other words, you won't blame your child for how you feel. You won't blame yourself, either, because true
responsibility has nothing to do with blame.

Breakthroughs happen when you honor your "negative" emotions without making anyone wrong. And when you truly take responsibility for your feelings, being coercive doesn't feel "real" at all.