You know you’ve heard it before “You’re a mean mommy (or daddy, or caregiver).” “I don’t like you anymore.” “You never let me do anything.” It’s not unusual to hear children say these things. Especially when they’re angry or disappointed, or not sure how to express their feelings. The problem is, even when we know the motivation behind these words, we can still be left feeling sad, hurt and sometimes a little guilty, questioning whether we actually did something wrong as grown-ups. I’m here to encourage you to practice a little self-compassion.
The role of grown-up isn’t always an easy one. Setting limits that children may not always like; saying no to cookies before breakfast; stopping a child before she pushes her sister. These are all things that children may “push back” about. But they are also important components of our job as the grown-ups in the life of a young child.
Just as hard as setting those limits can be practicing self-compassion. Here are some easy ways to start: Acknowledge that there may be missteps in the limits or expectations we place on young children. Allow for course correction as you go and being kind to yourself as you do it. Don’t chastise yourself. As we tell the children, everyone makes mistakes. Honor that while you’re child may be unhappy with your decisions from time to time; you are helping to set them up for later success. The best part of this practice is that when we love ourselves, we are modeling for children how to do the same.