Today I had to go to that place that I don’t like to be as a parent. Yes, I had to put my firm face on – I had to stay firm, I had to be firm. Today I was not his friend, I was his MOTHER.
And yes, today my son hated me and yes it made me sad, or mad – I’m still not sure. And in the moment, I doubted that I had done the right thing. In the moment I wished I didn’t have to be there. I wished my son had not ‘pushed’ me there. In the moment I had to work hard on controlling myself and my emotions.
But it’s OK – I feel good now, we are good now. And no one said parenting was going to be easy.
This is something that comes with the job when you are a parent. Knowing when to go to that place and put your firm face on. Where we must step into the role as THE PARENT, and it is important that we can do this with confidence. And that we can bounce back afterwards and get over it. And we are over it, we have reconnected.
And that is because of the foundation we have built together over the last 19 years – that is how old he is. We spend lovely time together, every day when we can. We have nice family meals, as often as we can. I speak to him respectfully, most of the time. We laugh, smile and hug a lot. So, I have earned the right to do and say what needs to be done and said at challenging times – to still discipline him when needed. To do what he needs, not what he ‘thinks’ he wants from me, as his mother, not his friend. Friendship will come later; I just have to hold on a few more years. My daughter is 23 and I will say we are getting there, becoming friends.
So, because of a solidly built foundation of connection, love and ongoing respect I can do what I had to do – and still bounce back and restore the peace and harmony between us afterwards. And yes he got mad at me, but he still listened to what I had to say. Because I let him have his emotions without trying to fix or stop them. ‘You are angry at me right now and I get it, you don’t like what I said – and that’s OK – but I still mean what I said’. He stormed off in a cloud of anger and lots of big words. But he did what he had to do. So, all is OK. We are now connected and have left it behind us. I even praised him for getting it done, without the, ‘BUT why couldn’t you have done it WITHOUT the big battle?!’…Just, ‘well done, you did it and you did it well, much appreciated’. And a hug – I always sneak in a hug or as he says, ‘steal a hug’.
So, what did he do, you wonder? I will not tell you out of respect for my son. But it could have been anything from refusing to brush his teeth, eating his dinner, doing homework or applying for summer jobs. The process is the same.
And it’s never too late to build that foundation. I have been working with a dad who had a 15-year-old son and a 21-year-old daughter. He started building a healthier foundation and because the love and the ‘want’ was there, he built it quickly. He can now enjoy it and finds setting boundaries so much easier. There will always be battles in a family but once we have connection and communication, we are OK and can get through these moments quicker. AND they become less frequent and less severe.
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