Today, we are wrapping up our series about “Home Grown Bullies”. I hope that you have all had a chance to read and think about how your family interacts at home can affect the chance of your child being involved in a bullying situation.
I know that as I was researching this topic, I was definitely affected on a personal level. I grimaced and cringed and even shed a tear or two while writing the series. I saw myself as a parent but I also saw myself as a child and thought about how my upbringing not only affected me personally, but how it affected my parenting of my daughters who are now grown.
The first thing that struck me was that the parenting style I saw most in myself was not the one I experienced growing up. Many of you probably discovered the same thing. I also saw that my parenting style was a combination of more than one style and it often depended on the particular circumstance we happened to be dealing with at the time. I’d be willing to bet that some of you saw the same thing.
I saw myself as a Brick Wall parent in times when my children were acting out and I felt out of control. Then, when I started feeling guilty for being a Brick Wall parent, I turned into a Jellyfish parent to “make up” for what I perceived was a terrible thing I did to my children. I look back now, though and can say that being a single mom had quite a bit of influence over the way I parented back in those days.
We were also trying to deal with the death of the girls’ dad at the young age of 42. I was already a single mom by then, so it was doubly hard to for me to maintain consistent parenting. They were 11 and 17 when he died, but he had been quite sick for some time. In fact, my younger daughter never really knew her dad when he wasn’t sick.
I felt like I had to keep “control” over every situation because I was solely responsible for their futures. Being a full-time working mom was also creating challenges that I didn’t expect.
I look back on those years now and I can honestly say I did the best that I could with what I had. Was it perfect? NOPE! But I was talking with my younger daughter a few weeks ago and we were talking about her childhood. She told me that she and her sister were having a similar conversation the week before. She shared with me that they agreed that the most important thing they learned from me was tolerance. She didn’t realize it, I’m sure, but she had just given me the best gift a child could give to their parents…despite all the challenges and all my failings and mistakes, they had learned something that they would carry with them into adulthood.
I share all of this to let those of you who may be wondering and questioning your parenting skills, you’re most likely doing way better than you think you are! You will have victories, big and small and it’s important to celebrate them as they happen! When you are feeling overwhelmed and underequipped, remember that each new day can be a new start for you as a parent and for your child as well.
Take a deep breath, don’t take yourself too seriously and be flexible enough to make course corrections as needed.
Again, I hope you enjoyed this series and will come back to it whenever you need a refresher or you meet another family that might benefit from the information. If you want to continue to learn more about creating a positive family environment, be sure to subscribe to our mailing list at the end of this blog post. You will automatically receive our most requested e-book, “Bullyproof”. It’s full of simple steps you can take to empower your children and help them stand up to bullying. You’ll receive our newsletters, tips and information about our classes and other activities.