But lately I've found a way of working with my errors in a more constructive way, with less silent guilt bashing, and a more positive end result. Are you wondering what it is yet? Well, it's actually the same learning process we try to teach to our children when they make a mistake like drawing on the walls or hitting their sibling:
- Recognize that we have made a mistake.
- Find out what underlying emotion or trigger caused us to behave in that way.
- Apologize sincerely to the person/people we may have hurt.
- Decide on how best to avoid making the same mistake again in the future.
- Move on.
Never underestimate the power of a sincere apology, even to a pre-verbal child. They can understand far more than we often give them credit for and even if they can't comprehend all the words they get a tonne of information from our body language, the tone of our voice, and the feeling we put across. Not only does an apology help clear the air, it also models self awareness and humility to our children, which is the most effective way to teach them.
The last one 'move on' is really important too, as the act of forgiving ourselves for making a mistake frees us up from guilt, models healthy self worth, and helps us to positively retain what we have learned from the situation.
It's so important to address feelings around a negative experience, not only for our kids, but for us as well. Otherwise we just sweep it all under the subconscious rug, and the more we pile away under there the more s**t that will pop out every time we try to get on top of it! By recognizing a mistake for our kids, apologizing, talking about how it felt from both sides, and moving on, we do our bit to help keep their subconscious slightly less cluttered. So lets all be the adults from now on and apologize when we lose our temper, snap, or otherwise parent in a way that isn't consistent with our values and beliefs.
By using this process, I've learned to repair my mistakes and validate both my own feelings and Bean's. It's not always easy, but most things in life (and parenting!) that are really worth doing aren't.