Life in General

When my child misbehaves…is it a sign of failed parenting?


“You’re child is uncooperative and disrespectful.”

I nod, trying to keep myself together.

“Your child is not behaving and not following directions.”

Keep it together, keep it together, I tell myself.

They are not saying that YOU are misbehaving, they are talking about your child.

But still I feel shame creeping through me, enveloping me.

They’re not talking about you!! Stop it!

But if they are talking about my child, aren’t they talking about me?

If my child fails to behave properly, isn’t it because I failed to teach my child?

It certainly feels like that.

NO, no, no shouts the logical side of me, stop it!

This is about your child, not about you. You can’t help your child if all you think about is you!

I nod and apologize, and express my sincerest disappointment in my child (and perhaps in myself?) and lead my child to the waiting room.

I  watch my tear-streaked child, sitting in his chair whimpering.

And I try to put my thoughts together.

When my child succeeds, do I take the credit? Is the success because I’m such a good mother, or does the child alone get the credit, for each child is their own person?

If i take the credit when things work well, then do I get the flack for when they don’t perform how they should?

Or is each child indeed their own little person, responsible for their achievements and for their failures?

Of course I want to pat myself on the back when my child receives a top mark on a test, has an impressive talent or when my baby sleeps through the night..

But do I really get the credit? I’m suddenly not so sure.

Each child is their own person.

Parents are there to guide, lead, direct and teach. But each child has their own little mind, personality and character. And their own little decisions to make.

I did not misbehave. My child did.

And one of my other children is still being seen in back; I’m guessing that means he is cooperating. So maybe it isn’t all my fault.

So then why am I still feeling so ashamed?

As my child loudly yells some angry remarks and cries, I see this other mom in the waiting room grab the hand of her two year old child and leads her out of the room, loudly telling her, “I don’t want you to see how that child is behaving!”

I watch as she marches out of the waiting room, crushing what is left of my motherhood confidence with each footstep, smashing it all to tiny pieces.

I am ashamed. I feel like a failure.

And I look at my dear child; my child’s face has the same feelings stamped across it.

Should I punish my child for misbehaving? Who does like the doctors office? Is my child at fault? Am I at fault?

We sit quietly; I don’t want to say anything I will regret.

My child quiets down and settles on a pout.

I slowly let go of the shame and feelings of inadequacy and I am able to think clearer.

Children learn from their mistakes. They grow up. I must be patient.

Being a mother is truly a humbling experience.

1 thought on “When my child misbehaves…is it a sign of failed parenting?”

  1. I’m so glad I found your blog! I often feel the same way… like this afternoon when my son dishonestly told our babysitter that he can’t go to the park because he had a doctor appointment. Kids will be kids… we just have to enforce proper middos and lead by example. Hopefully the next time that happens to you the other mothers in the room will be more understanding 🙂

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