Have you ever stopped and said to yourself, oh my goodness, I sound like my mother/father?
I have done that a few times over the past 7 years with Little D. First, let me tell you about my father. I love him dearly, but he can be a little short sometimes. He can walk in a room and just snap at you. Part of me thinks he is unhappy. He lives with his wife (my mom), his mother-in-law, and J, who is a handful to say the least! But then again, another part of me thinks it’s just his personality. I realize that I have a part of my father in me. I get grumpy when anyone tries to help me with a project, for example. This stems from my father being that way as I was growing up.
I am normally a pretty quiet, passive individual. We don’t raise our voices at Little D, and try to make sure he doesn’t hear us when we raise our voices with each other, which is thankfully not too often!
But sometimes I do find myself being my father. Case in point: On Sunday, Little D was monopolizing the computer and the dining room by playing a computer game simultaneously on his laptop and the desktop. I must be PMS’ing or something because I kind of snapped at him when we got home from grocery shopping. You see, the living room and the dining room are connected by a doorway, and D and I censor what we watch when he is downstairs. I know, he’s 16, but we can’t bring ourselves to watch something that’s rated R in front of him if we don’t know what happens in it (Is it rated R because of sex? Violence? Language?). I’m sure he’s seen rated R movies before, just not with us unless we know when to fast forward:)
Anyway, I snapped at him about how we might want to watch a movie, and he sort of sulked upstairs. (Let me just say here that it is almost always only on Sunday nights when we want him to find something to do, and he is usually okay with it. He knows we are not saying we don’t want to hang out with him, but that we need some adult tv time.)
I felt really awful. I paced around for a bit and got a little bit of a talking to from D. I realized I was being like my father and so I decided to go talk to Little D. I’ve unfortunately had to apologize to him like this once or twice before.
I went up and told him I was sorry if I hurt his feelings. I explained that sometimes the way I say something isn’t the way I mean it to come out. I told him that he is welcome to be in any room in the house at any time, and I explained that sometimes we want to watch a movie and then we have to ask him to go upstairs for an hour or two. I told him that it’s a fine balance for me to express to him our need for him to find another thing to do and not hurting his feelings. As soon as I walked in the door to say all this, a little smile crossed his face. He knew I had realized that I was being harsh.
Whenever I do that (which believe me, has only been I think 3 times in 7 years), I know I have to be a bigger person than my dad was. I know I have to swallow my pride and apologize. And I truly think Little D really appreciates that I do this, as evidenced by the fact that he was my best friend for the rest of that night:) I’ve told him that any time I am acting that way, they should just all call me my dad’s name, and both of them laughed.
I realize this fault in me, and I am trying to break that cycle. I am trying to show our son that if you know you are wrong, you should own up to it, no matter what, which is something my dad never did.
So what about you? In what ways do you see your mother or father in yourself in relation to your parenting?