We all have blindspots – and we’re definitely not mean to be perfect!
But what if becoming aware of our parenting blindspots would take us one step closer to having happy, smiling, helpful children?
What if these blindspots were really, really important?
Because I believe they are. I believe our children’s reactive, stubborn, grumpy, explosive, demanding, defiant, resentful, anxious or clingy behaviours have in large part to do with our blindspots…
And I mean that in a totally non-judgmental way.
I’m going to start by sharing a personal blindspot, that I uncovered recently, to reassure you that we’re all in this blindspot boat together! My blindspot had to do with an aspect of my mentoring business.
To give you a bit of context: I find it very important to connect with parents with sensitivity and respect, whether they’re clients – or simply curious and landing on my website for the first time.
So, imagine my surprise when I realised that within my processes there was something that I was doing that could have been experienced as insensitive.
The background is that parents regularly book no cost conversations with me to discuss a way forward for their families.
On the day of their conversation, or the evening before, I used to send them a brief text message, saying I’ll be ringing you on this number at such a time and I’m looking forward to talking.
I had been advised to do this by a business mentor a while back as a way of helping people to remember that they had booked the call. I never questioned this approach, even although two or three people had cancelled their call after receiving the text.
Then a friend pointed out to me that getting a text which they weren’t expecting could feel a little invasive.
Oh no! The proverbial scales fell from my eyes. I was shocked to realise I had been doing this for a number of months – and hadn’t questioned it.
Of course, I stopped.
I share this example because communicating respectfully with parents is a really high priority for me – and yet I hadn’t properly considered how someone might feel about getting this text.
It was definitely a blindspot.
So now I’d like to introduce you to some of those things we parents commonly do in our families that I believe are not 100% respectful. We do these things despite the fact that we love our children to distraction, so much so that we’d actually give our own lives to save them. So, they’re blindspots.
These blindspots have to do with things that we typically say and do to children that we would never say or do to adults. In fact we’d probably feel embarrassed to say or do these things to adults. But we assume it’s ok, because we’re interacting with children. Or, as in the case of my blindspot, we don’t think about it at all. We simply do it, because someone told us to do it, other people do it or it was done to us.
As you read through this list of cultural blindspots, either you’ll have an “aha” and feel a bit shocked. Or you might think, at least at some point, “What’s disrespectful about that?” Or, of course, your response will be mixed.
If you do find yourself wondering if what I’m talking about is actually disrespectful, I invite you to ask yourself, “Would I express myself in this way towards an adult?”
List of blindspots:
- Taking things out of your child’s hands without asking.
- Pushing them through a door from behind.
- Pinning them down against their will to change their nappy.
- Telling them to go away and play.
- Telling them not to be so bossy or demanding.
- Telling them not to interrupt.
- Tell them not to dominate the conversation.
- Telling them not to be rude.
- Not telling your child that something is going to hurt.
- Threatening to leave them somewhere if they don’t come.
- Counting to 3.
- Disapproving when they express strong emotions.
- Trying to convince them they like things that they’ve told us that they don’t like.
- Trying to convince them that they want something which they’ve said they don’t want.
- Telling them they do like someone they’ve just said they don’t like.
- Making them eat certain things before they can eat other things.
- Taking away their favourite possessions.
- Sending them to their rooms.
- Telling them they’re “naughty”.
- Telling them their behaviour is unacceptable.
- Telling them to say sorry.
- Telling them they’re driving us mad.
- Telling them to be quiet.
Did you think at a certain point: What is disrespectful about that?
Well, I do describe my approach as radically loving.
It is a radical way forward that is about putting the relationship with our children first.
I believe that if we want children to really respect us, if we want them to listen to what we say, if we want them to become socially aware human beings who take other people seriously, we need to model this kind of behaviour for them.
So, this article is an invitation to start the softening process that helps us to become better, kinder, more conscious parents, who can more easily create the happy, open-hearted families we long for – and raise a generation of young people who find it natural to be 100% respectful and considerate towards others.
If this article touched you and you’d like to get more information on this topic, I show you how you can solve unwanted behaviour with radical love in my no-cost guide Solve the Struggle with Your Kids, which you can download by entering your details below.
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