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What is the most poignant moment you’ve had as a parent?
There have been many, so it’s hard to choose just one. That’s just how it is when you spend a lot of time with children. But one that comes to memory first is when my young teenage daughter picked a safe time to tell me that “my problem is that I think I know everything.” It triggered all sorts of confused emotions.
For one, it told me that if she had to wait for a safe moment, while I was driving them to school, then most other times she didn’t feel absolutely safe criticizing me. That’s a blow to my ego since I considered myself well-versed in all things parenting — and knew that children of all ages need to feel safe. Still, the fact that she said it at all meant that I wasn’t doing that bad a job. I got a low pass for that one.
Then there was this nagging feeling that she was right! One of the things I teach parents is that having all the answers to children’s challenges can be a communication blocker if they’re not careful. There’s no better clue that I wasn’t following my own advice as best as I could, than my own kid telling me I’m a culprit in that department. Fail! Considerable room for improvement.
Self-awareness is a blessing … even when it is prompted by someone else. But I should be proud right? I mean, this is what I signed up for when I decided years ago to learn as much as I can about modern parenting methods based on scientific inquiry — a kid who actually uses her brain and can stand up for herself without putting herself at too much risk. That’s why I was grinning to myself by the time she jumped out the car and disappeared past the school gates.
Rodney C. Davis is a life-skills and parenting coach. He also worked in parenting education and school social worker for 13 years. Read more from Quora below: