This past weekend my family and I went to the beach for a long weekend. I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time. I love the beach and my kids do too! Like...a lot!
We arrived on a Thursday night and we were just kind of tired from the day and drive. The rental agency gave us the wrong keys, so we had to wait for them to drop off the correct ones.
We opened the door to our third floor condo and all hell broke loose. The kids took off, touching everything. My son opened the oven and stuck his head in. Thankfully the oven was not on. Dis-regulation was in full force! The behavior continued throughout the entire weekend as blinds were broken, the people below us probably thought we were running a zoo.
I was on my boys like white on rice All. Weekend. Long. I said no if they blinked the wrong way. I yelled at them for legitimate stuff too. Needless to say, my actions stressed everyone out.
We got home Sunday night and I got ripped, rightfully so, by my loving and caring wife. I really do mean that.
I felt like garbage. I felt like the worst dad in the world. I messed up the entire vacation even though my kids didn’t seem to show it. I was defeated.
So what do you do when you feel like a crappy father?
1. Find Lessons to be Learned. I learned from an outsider looking in, my wife, that I had let my children control my emotions. I learned that we should’ve taken the kids around the condo so that they could see, touch, and feel everything to meet their sensory needs and tell them what they could and could not touch. Needless to say, I learned a lot. Look for lessons.
2. Commit to One Change. Find one thing you can do to improve your parenting and commit to it. What’s one of the thing you learned and how can you apply it in every day life? Figure that out and work on it. Do you say “no” all of the time regardless of the situation? Commit to saying “yes” more. Do you like controlling every situation? Relinquish some control.
3. Humble Yourself & Apologize. Whether your child is 1 or 18, you will never understand the power of an apology. Be the bigger man and tell your kid that you screwed up and that you are sorry. This will go a long way in reconciling with your child especially if they have had an abusive past. More than likely, they were never told by a parent that they were sorry. Trust me, it will help your child feel safe and help you move on.
This past weekend I felt like a crappy father. It wasn’t my first time and, more than likely, won’t be my last. The key is to learn something and put what you’ve learned into action. And most importantly, apologize. It can make ore break your relationship with your child.