Even before I was a parent, I told myself(and everyone else) that I would be different. I would be better. I could see where other parents had failed, and I would not make those mistakes. My child would be different.
Now I have a child. I tried to tell myself that I was fair. That I made him mind and behave. That I was teaching him respect, manners, and patients. That I was teaching him to think of not just himself but of others. That our actions have an impact on others.
I told myself that I was a little harder on my son than most parents, but it was for his benefit. My child would be different. Better.
I'm failing. I've spoiled him. I clearly have not been hard enough. I let too much slide. He thinks of no one but himself and what he wants. I can explain the same thing a dozen times in two dozen different ways and none of it is sinking in.
For the last couple of months I let things go a little easier. I tried to tell myself that he was acting out because I spent most of the summer away. I can't say that anymore. I try to let things slide because he's only four years old. I don't buy that either.
In the last few days, he and I have had the exact same conversation so many times that I've lost track. I have tried different approaches. Different tactics. I'm getting the same results. An ill mannered child that is doing everything that I thought I was teaching him not to do.
Today we had a discussion about discipline. Apparently this is a foreign concept for him. It sounds strange to say, that punishing my son hurts me more than it hurts him. I heard my parents say it to me and I never really understood. Today, it's becoming a bit clearer.
It really does hurt, to see him cry and act like I have broken his heart. I want to tell him I'm sorry, and that he can do what he wants and have his way, just don't cry or be sad. But I can't. I'm the parent. I expect and demand more from my son. I expect and demand more from myself.
There are lessons that he must learn. There are lessons that I must learn. No matter how hard.