I loved you so I never said no.
I wanted you to have order in your life so I cleaned up after you. Now, you’re growing up and I can’t face the tantrums.
You don’t have the ability to take the knocks that life will give you and you don’t have the independence you need to stand up on your own. And I’m fed up!
I realise I taught you wrong.
I realise, but not because I can see how immature and badly behaved you are. If so, then I would have seen the warning signs long ago. No, I realise. But because it’s gone so badly wrong that it’s starting to affect me.
You’re young so it’s not too late to change but the problem is this – that shouting has become my way of teaching you. Because I am tired and my patience is wearing thin. I shout, feel guilty, and then I give in to you once again.
When I look at what I did, I wonder why. Why nobody spoke to me and guided me right or talked to me when I was doing wrong. Or did they try? And fail because I ignored them?
Did I really think I was preparing you for life?
Did I show you my love in a way that you needed me to or was it all about what was easy and about what made me feel good? Did I think that you’d just learn the skills you required for life on your own?
I’m bearing the brunt now. Still unable to be consistent in disciplining you yet learning very grudgingly. Only changing when your behaviour gets so bad that you’re forcing me to change.
Why can I not admit I don’t know, so I can learn faster? Learn what you need to help you grow. Know when you need me to be kind or to dole out tough love. Do for you and teach you to do for me. Because you need to learn to care for me first, before you learn to be of service to others.
Why can’t I learn to say no without shouting?
So you accept it without getting defensive. So you open up to me and understand my decisions. So you learn to deal with disappointment and are prepared to take the knocks that life has planned for you.
Realization hits and I’m trying, even though I fail many times. I know now that it’s not about success, but about making the effort.
What you need from me is the thing I find most difficult to do. But I’m trying. Because at the end it’s not about me but about my love for YOU.
My inspiration for this essay was a conversation with a parent who had a very badly behaved child. I remember hearing the child screaming in temper and asking the child’s mother if she needed help. She smiled apologetically, saying :
“We loved our son so much that we never said no to him.”
She continued to explain, saying “He’s gone so used to getting his way that he’s screaming the place down, because he wants to go out to play and I’ve just said no because it’s too late. We’re starting to say no when he behaves badly, but sometimes we get so tired, we just give in.”