When I grow up, I never… and here comes the experience, a behavior that you don’t want to experience. Do you remember such a scene from your childhood? And now 20, 30, 40 years later, what is your mantra? Hypocrisy in a parent – do you know that.
“I” will be different …
And here it happened. Everyone expected it. They prepared for this event with due responsibility. Now, however, they leave behind millions of thoughts, expectations, dreams, and visions. They judged others believing that they would have acted differently, better in their place. They promised themselves never to make such blatant mistakes. Meanwhile, they stand defenseless and scared, tired of crying for four hours, aversion to everything green, the fact that everything has to be now and now, silence, the awareness that they do not know what is going on.
Every parent, no matter how much he wanted his child or how intensely he prepared to welcome him, has to face the awareness that parenting cannot be planned. The appearance of a child in our lives reveals the complete truth about ourselves.
We discover in ourselves all the most beautiful features, but also those that we would prefer to erase. We wonder why we were so carefully taught physics, developed logical thinking and counting skills, corrected our linguistic mistakes, but were not prepared to be a parent.
Of course, it can be said that being a parent is something completely natural and it is not worth analyzing everything related to it, trusting that we will also be able to do it. You can, but you can also think about what would make it easier for me to be a mom, to be a dad. What skills I already have can make my educational advantage, on which potential to base my relationship with my husband or wife, what is worth working on in order not to repeat the mistakes we have sworn in the past that we will never make.
This “I” will be … the ideal …
When talking frankly about human development, it should be clearly stated at the very beginning that there is no ideal model of mother or father. What’s more, the pursuit of the created ideal usually deprives us of the ability to experience what is currently happening in our lives. We replace experience with design. There is also no attainable ideal model of ourselves. Regardless of the strength of our decisions and awareness of our flaws, we will make mistakes for the rest of our lives. What we can do, however, is to reflect on those aspects that make us able to show our love and care to our loved ones, allow us to admit guilt, facilitate apologies, forgiveness, allow us to enjoy the family relationship, and give our children a priceless foundation on which their vision of the world and its relations depend.
“I” is not!
If you have had the opportunity to work with young people or talk to teenagers about their relationship with adults, you can see that very often they point to an obstacle preventing them from building strong relationships, including with their parents. We are probably not surprised to learn that it is hypocrisy. Our children are brilliant observers, this is how they learn. They x-ray our parents, and based on our behavior, show norms, communicated principles, and our consistency, they build a picture of themselves and the world.
And now, hand on heart: have you ever eaten chocolate when you told your two-year-old just a moment earlier that chocolate is unhealthy and an apple is better, or you scolded (rightly so) your child for arguing with his brother when he did the same of the evening you won a loud dispute with your partner? Or maybe, by showing the value of developing your imagination, you almost forcibly persuaded your daughter to read the book, while at the same time firing up Netflix with joy?
These are small things, but there are much more serious situations, after all, when a parent orders punishment for his child for hitting his friend in kindergarten again, and on the same day he gives a fierce spank for the hysteria caused by turning off the fairy tale. Let’s be honest with ourselves: we are all hypocrites. Of course, we don’t always notice a paradox in our behavior. We accept our flaws, calling them weaknesses, and at the same time evaluate and even criticize others who behave in the same way.
Is it “me” or is it “you”?
We are all hypocrites, but before we put a full stop, or maybe even an exclamation point. It is worth paying attention to one more component mechanism of the whole. Very complicated process, the noticing of which will make it easier for us to work on our integrity. Now think of any person who lives near you. Your chosen one must be the one who often angers you irritates you, sometimes gives you a headache. He delays with the things he has promised to arrange. Talks too much remain silent after an argument instead of solving a problem. He can never admit a mistake. He fumbles after a pause misses deadlines. Or maybe he wants to control everything and everyone around him.
Footsteps of a condemned man
Do you have this person before your eyes? It is now time for the final step. Let’s think about whether the features that irritate us the most are not our own? The ones that we do not accept within ourselves. That makes our functioning difficult, that we displace by painting a more beautiful. But not necessarily true, picture of ourselves? Does our child, who gets out of bed so lazily and for a long time, slowly walks to the kitchen, unable to say what he wants to eat for breakfast, and with a clouded face, with the footsteps of a condemned man, goes to kindergarten – he doesn’t remind us of someone?
If you are a hypocrite like me, you can admit it. You can, even more, reflect on what and how you want to develop in yourself. To simply create not only a loving but also a loving family. That is why today we can start a joint, not always easy. But an exciting journey into our inner world. Choose to take the risk of insight into yourself. This may arouse fear. But also give us a chance to learn the truth about ourselves and be better for our children. Isn’t it worth the risk?
If it’s worth it, if you want, today you can do one seemingly simple. But at the same time very important thing. Try for a day, but from early morning until you fall asleep. To do exactly what you ask your child, husband, or wife to do. And remember this when, for example, you ask your child to go to bed earlier …