I know my kids need me to be present, especially when they’re feeling scared or overwhelmed. For them, these emotions often lead to tantrums, whining, or fighting, behaviors which drive me crazy. So, this is when I shut down, even though this is probably not the most helpful response. Sometimes it’s the only thing that stops me from yelling or screaming back. On the other hand, my withdrawal will not help my kids improve.
A lot of people say that being a parent makes them a better person. I always thought people said this because they are so overwhelmed with love for their children. Maybe this is true – for them. But, if I have any hope of being made better through parenting, it will be a long journey. It wasn’t, as I imagined it, something that was instantaneous the moment that I saw my children for the first time. It will happen (I hope) because parenting revealed so many flaws and gave me so many opportunities to improve them.