A few years ago, a friend asked me what were the things I regretted most when parenting, and what were the things I would have done differently.
Without blinking an eye, I said ‘none!’.
He was very surprised with my answer, and so was I. Really, regretting something in my parenting-years has never crossed my mind. I was really busy loving my children, thinking of ways how I could inspire them, how to enjoy and have fun with them… so where would I have time to think of regrets?
However, I dwelled on this question for a long time, and tried to figure out why I said "none"? I know, deep down, there were areas I was struggling with, and I felt unsure of how to handle many issues, no matter how many parenting books I had read. I could not figure out some of the "reactions" that I had when I faced challenging moments while parenting.
And I have to say, that question did trigger my thinking for a long time. So I started to list my thoughts about what I have done, what I did not do, what I should have done, why I did that, why I reacted to certain things my children did or did not do … and all other things…. So here are my parenting notes and questions:
Things that I am proud of:
- I love my kids – that I know for sure 100%.
- I love food, so do they.
- We made everyday count. i.e. we had fun with our daily adventures, i.e. feeding the ducks, bush walking, grocery shopping, picnics at the park, library days, lunch dates @ pizza hut, cake making days, karaoke, home movie dates… and may more activities.
Things that I am not proud of:
- Did I yell at my kids? Oh… yes, 🙁 and I am not proud of it.
- Did I get impatient with them? Yes. 🙁
- I rushed and was stressed easily, which indirectly meant my children suffered.
- I was controlling most of the times.
- Felt anxious about their school work, their exams …
- …. and other not too proud moments…
Now I have more than 20 years to see the outcome of my interactions with my children, and we do discuss and talk about them every now as a family. Looking back, would I change anything I did or did not do during the past 20 years with my children?
My answer would still be: No!
I am not beating myself up about it, as during those times, I was UNAWARE and unconscious of how my actions would impact my children's mindset and their thoughts. I did the best I could, with the resources and knowledge that I had at that time, and acted with the best intentions for my children.
However, with the 20 more years of experience, and with more knowledge of child psychology and parenting, there were many things that I would have done differently. I think I would have communicated differently and acted differently with this additional knowledge.
What would I have done differently?
The first and most importantly thing for me right now is that everything that I do in life has to come from a place of clarity and awareness. If I were to go back 20 years ago, I would first empower myself with parenting information, create opportunities to be more self aware and challenge my beliefs that were not supporting me as a person and parent.
One thing I would definitely NOT do: I would NEVER parent my children from the learned experiences that were handed down from my parents, extended families and the community. The reason is that those experiences are a cocktail of love, wounds, vows, hate, anger, fun, joy, fear … I would create my own experiences from a place of clarity, love and joy.
Because where I am now, had I have the clarity and consciousness of what I have gained from the work I have put in, I would be a happier, more confident and a more compassionate person and parent. I would parent my children from a place of fun, joy and confidence rather than feeling stressed, confused and anxious.
We all love our children and family – take the step to be the confident and empowered person and parent you set out to be. Let's start with the first step – let's first create the connections between you and your children and to yourself.
Remember, whether it is parenting, a career or any aspects of your life, it all starts with YOU!