When the boys were little we used to say “In this family, it’s ok to make mistakes”… we said it a lot. We started saying it for them, because they were little and messed up a lot but pretty quickly realized that it was a lesson we needed to learn as well. If mostly, kids are going to grow up to be a lot like their parents, we wanted them to grow up with parents who weren’t always freaking out about screwing up. Since we were both somewhat demanding firstborns, learning that mistakes were a predictable part of life was daunting.
Now that the boys are teens, and I can see that they do seem comfortable laughing at their own screw ups, that they can take responsibility for their behavior without wallowing in shame and guilt, I think we did ok. More often these days I have to remind them that “In this family, it’s ok to make mistakes” means that they don’t get to get all over my case when I am late or forget or buy the wrong crap at Target. I model making mistakes with grace…regularly.
When we learn to be gentle with ourselves, it becomes natural to be gentle with those around us.
We also had to add the mantra “In this family, you can always ask for help”. Firstborns are often highly praised for their independence. I think we both would get A++ in the independence game but we wanted our boys to feel connected and to know that they we’re supported and that asking for help makes life so much easier. How do you teach and model something that feels so dangerous?
If we look at what we want for our kids, we often bump up against what we felt was lacking in our lives. We want just a little bit more for them. We want them to be free of the struggles we had.
Think about the mantras or rules in your family. I love that the research says that raising your kids with values makes a huge difference to their future success in life… and it really doesn’t matter what those values are. It makes me want to play around with some crazy guinea pig research on my kids like what if I raised them with just any old values?
Oh… whatever did we do before Google? I have some guy’s list of 50 core values… you’re supposed to pick 5. I started to make a crazy list of 5 values I don’t have… and I think I created the Kardashians.
So my real list… at least today is this.
What would your’s be? What would your kids guess they were? What will your kids want better for their kids, because they will? Being great parents calls us to be our best version of ourselves.
There is a great one hour free CEU training by Brene Brown- “Shame Shield” that I think is amazing. You don’t have to be a therapist or need CEUs but it is a great hour of free education for humans. The ones that feel (or don’t feel) shame. pesi.com/brown-shame