There are several parenting lessons I wish I’d figured out earlier. For instance, how to navigate toddler tantrums and help my daughter work through anger in a healthy way. I figured out that lesson about three years later than I wish I had.
As parents and humans, we can be really hard on ourselves.
Even though I know we are all doing the best we can with the skills we’ve got, the person I find hardest to forgive is myself. I have many lingering regrets about parenting and relationship choices I wish I’d done differently.
But, what if the whole point of parenting, and all relationships, is really about growth? Personal growth. Being more connected and loving to ourselves and to those around us. Realizing the things we are doing/saying or not doing/saying that could use some fine tuning or a major tune up.
For me, parenthood has definitely been my gateway to growth. And this growth has flowed into other relationships in my life as well.
Here are a few of those life lessons that keep crossing my path:
- How we communicate really matters. Thanks to thought leaders like Brene Brown and John Gottman, I try hard to avoid blaming statements, criticism and shaming others. Here’s a recent blog post I wrote about how simply starting conversations with “I” instead of “you” can change the whole conversation.
- The only person we can control is ourselves, but that can be really powerful. When I feel triggered by something or someone, I pause and try to ground myself instead of reacting. Then, with a level head, I choose how to respond. I’ve noticed that when I stay grounded in these moments, the outcome shifts.
- Notice and feel our emotions instead of avoiding, ignoring or burying them. Once I dug into my own Emotional Intelligence, I was better able to help my kids manage their difficult emotions in a healthy way.
- Gratitude. My oldest daughter turns 13 this week. 13! Our time as parents and our time on this planet are limited. As you may have noticed in my blog, family dinner has become a special time for my family to connect. Here are a few recent topics that help us stay focused on how very lucky we are.
- Family Dinner Topic: What are you grateful for today?
- Family Dinner Topic: What Makes You Feel Loved?
- Family Dinner Topic: What About Our Family Makes You Want to Come Home?
So yes, we are going to goof up as parents, friends, partners, spouses and co-workers. But those mistakes that resurface again and again open a door to growth if we decide to dig in. In what ways has parenting or life inspired your personal growth? Please share!
PASS IT ON. Jessica Speer’s weekly BLOG focuses on helping kids and families thrive. Posts offer simple ideas to help kids and families connect & foster healthy relationships. If you know someone who might appreciate this content, please pass it on! Click here to follow blog via email or Facebook.