Owning My Parenting Mistakes

I’m confident that I’m an excellent parent. I’m also positive that I’ve made my share of mistakes in this role. Of course, my ego would enjoy the satisfaction of pretending that my parenting record is flawless. It’s simply not true. Consider what I believe were pivotal parenting blunders I made with my daughters.

The Secrets in a Child’s’ “Space”

OK. I wanted to be the cool mother who respected my children’s “space.” That “space” was not limited to the privacy my daughters deserved in their bedrooms. It included their right to experience life as a whole.

I backed off when it came to one teen daughter and her emerging uniqueness. Honestly, I hated the dyed blue hair on her nearly shaved head. I despised the clunky boots and baggy clothes that awkwardly masked her beautiful body.

Even when she began to spend more time in the confines of her bedroom, super-cool me…let it go. Her new choice in morose music and her secretive antics were a sign. A door that was constantly locked was a sign. A different crowd of friends was a sign. Not wanting to spend time with me anymore was a sign.

It’s still uncomfortable to acknowledge that clearly, I knew my daughter was slipping into the darkness of her “space.” What was I thinking? Why didn’t I demand that she unlock her bedroom door and talk to me?

To keep peace, I closed my eyes to the idea that my daughter was experimenting with marijuana. It was the epitome of irresponsible parenting.

Exposing the Situation

A vicious blowout proved to be a turning point for me and my daughter. The extremely aggressive melt down opened the lines of communication. It did not have to be that way, though.

To my daughter, I conveyed that I still favored her exploring the many avenues of life. However, allowing that exploration was not intended to be a free-for-all that could ruin her.

I stepped into the accurate role of being a stern, but still nurturing parent. I made no bones that I expected a lot more from my daughter than what she was producing as of late. Smoking pot was not OK.

Hanging out with kids who had no ambition or a goal was unacceptable. After a bit (well, a lot) of gibberish ranting, my daughter agreed. We moved on from there, and never looked back once.

Trust Without Limits a No-No

As parenting mistakes go, I wish I’d been honest with myself about trust. I had utter confidence in my daughters to make the right choices. However, as kids will do, my girls insulted my level of trust a few times.

It was irrational to believe that my children would never do anything wrong. After one unpleasant episode of broken trust, I came to grips with reality. I lowered the bar on blind trust.

In doing so, I relieved myself from emotional torture. Funny thing: after I did that, my daughters really didn’t do anything too upsetting.

Sharing Too Much as a Parent

I have no doubt that this was my biggest parenting mistake. I have always been extremely close to my daughters. Years ago, I bumbled through divorce. I guess the tight relationship I had with my girls made me think it was OK to share those trying times with them. That was definitely not the right thing to do.

They had their own struggles to deal with through the divorce of their parents. In retrospect, I’m certain I did overburden them with all my emotional junk. My daughters have never said anything to make me think this is so. However, I don’t need to hear the words to know the truth in my heart.

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