HOW DO MY KIDS SEE ME?
Do you really know how your are perceived by your kids...both as a parent as well as a person?
Have you ever considered how you are perceived by your young adult son or daughter?
As yourself…How do my kids see me? Many parents don’t ever stop to consider this exact idea! We’re often so busy with logistics of parenting. The seemingly never-ending list of appointments, assignments, lessons, and social activities occupy a great deal of our mental space. So much so that we rarely have time to slow down and ask a simple question. “How do you perceive me as a parent?” This brings up a laundry list of further deeper probing questions to consider.
How does my teenage (or early 20’s) child see me, not as a parent, but as a PERSON?!
Before you run off and ask these specific questions putting them “on the spot”, lets slow down a minute and ask yourselves, “what answers would I LIKE them to say?”
My parent is super controlling!
My parent holds grudges!
My parent gets annoyed at the littlest things!
My parent is too busy to make time for me.
My parent holds onto past grudges!
These are often, among some of the common “complaining statements” we might hear from a typical 18-24 year old towards their parents.
On the other hand, they might also bring quite a bit of “love and affection” towards their perception and or description of us.
My parent is an incredible provider.
My parent makes a lot of sacrifices for the family!
My parent makes time for me.
My parent really is always there for me when it truly matters!
As you look through these various statements and get your brain moving, a really beneficial and often educational exercise that can go a long way is to simply write a description of how you present to your child. Make sure you include the good, the bad and the ugly. This isn’t easy by any means! It takes raw courage, self reflection and at times, a tremendous amount of accountability to be able to practice and engage in this level of “self-assessment.” As you navigate through this exercise, take a good look at how closely your “assessment of how you think you present as a parent” overlaps with how you HOPE you would be “perceived” by your child.
If you see things that you’re not fond of, pay attention! Ask yourself WHY you are “too quick to raise your voice when you’re frustrated” for example.
This can be a stressful exercise. But at the end of this reflective process, you might just be able to make some small changes that have significant long-lasting impacts!
And when it’s all said and done…don’t be afraid to ask your children “how do you perceive me as a parent and as a person?” You will learn a lot if you can practice reflective listening throughout this process! And remember, it will only be effective to the degree that you can come to the table with an open heart and open arms!