Parenting: when you’re doing it wrong

I read somewhere that you’re not supposed to take your child’s behavior personally.  We’re not supposed to see the decisions they make or don’t make as a reflection of who we are.  After all, they are their own people.

But we all know this is bullshit.

How many times do we tell parents that they should be proud of who their children have turned out to be?  “You know, great children are a sign of great parents,” we say.

Oh, but, don’t take it personally when your kid acts like a shit.

My kid?

Is acting like a first rate shit.

And I?

Am taking it personally.  Very personally.

I feel like a complete failure as a parent – and succeeding at anything else in life is meaningless in the face of failing as a parent.  The world cannot afford any more parenting failures.  Any other mistakes I make in this life are a blight on me and my life, but screwing up parenthood affects another generation.  Long after I’m gone, people will suffer because of my ineptitude.

And that’s not even the worst part.

Far worse than affecting faceless strangers in a hypothetical future is the knowledge that I am letting my child down.

I find myself second guessing decisions I made years ago.  Decisions to take this responsibility on, despite all evidence that suggested that I would be unfit.  Why had I not allowed someone more capable to step in for me?  Why had I let my own fiercely selfish love and pride keep this innocent child from a more qualified guide?

My skills are so lacking that I don’t even know what, exactly, I’m doing wrong.

Maybe I’ve yelled too much.  Maybe not enough.  Have I given too many rewards without enough thought?  I have I not tied consequence to deed appropriately?

Have I simply been a poor role model for how a person should behave?

Of course, that’s the most likely scenario, and the one that cuts the deepest.  He’s sarcastic and rude because I am sarcastic and rude.  His selfishness mirrors my own.  His all-consuming need to control is a natural and nurtured gift from me.

I’d be lying if I said that I was simply disappointed in myself.  I am also angry.  Not at me, but at the child who magnifies all of my shortcomings and refuses to bend to my will.  I’m angry at him because I’m ashamed of myself.  And that’s all well and good and almost understandable, but the bottom line is that I am angry.  At a child. I’m angry at my child.

Good mothers are not angry with their children.  Or disappointed.  Or ashamed.  Or embarrassed at how their children behave in front of others.

I know good mothers.  I hear them try to sound humble when they politely respond “oh, thank you,” to the endless compliments about their children.  I see them quietly handle some issue that no one else was even aware existed before sending their little angels back out to play.

Good parents don’t show their frustrating and they don’t have to apologize.  They don’t bristle at the realization that other adults are annoyed by their children’s behavior.

I want – have always wanted – so badly to be a good mother.  I am a person who wants lots of things, and there is nothing I have ever wanted as fiercely as I have wanted to be a good parent.  And yet here it seems that wanting is not enough.  Wanting and reading and instinct and all the shit they tell you will help is not, come to find out, enough.

Ten years into parenting and I still haven’t got a clue what I’m doing, but I am absolutely certain I’m doing it wrong.

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  1. Meg says:

    Oh, wow, I was just in the middle of beating myself up for the same exact thing when I saw your post. Yeah. Clearly I’m not doing something right because my 14 year old? Just doesn’t… get it.

  2. Lee brookes says:

    coming from a child who was a first rate shit to his Mother and who loves her very much your not doing anything wrong he’s just testing the boundaries we all did it in our own special way.

    Love them and they’ll love you back

    Your brill and deep down Britt you know it

  3. Show me one parent who claims to have NEVER been angry, disappointed, hurt, saddened or embarrassed by something their children have done and I’ll show you a liar.

    Good parenting isn’t about getting it right 100% of the time. Good parents lay awake at night, convinced they’re NOT doing it right, IME:)

    • And PS both my husband and I had a period of time where we were ABSOLUTE shits. But retrospectively speaking, our moms’ did many things right, and always tried.

  4. Maria says:

    Straight up? Your notion of a good mother is unattainable and unrealistic and just, no. I want to smack you. Lovingly.

    You’re a good mother, Britt.

    Misbehaving kid stuff sucks though. It’s all the negative and uncomfortable things you described. I have no advice there. I’ve recently accepted that I’m going to have to find outside sources of “WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO” starting with parenting books. Which make me feel like such a loser. But hey, this shit is supposed to work. So I gotta swallow my pride and try it.

    You’re a good mother. This bears repeating.

  5. avitable says:

    What makes you a good parent is that you recognize that you don’t know everything. You show your children unconditional love and acceptance and that’s the best parenting that anyone could ever ask for. Everyone has a bad day, even kids, and it doesn’t reflect poorly on you at all.

  6. Shelly says:

    Wow. This is really powerful and so very true. It’s nice to know I am not the only one.

  7. Pop and Ice says:

    Speaking as a Mom who used to need her husband’s assistance to jam a jacket and shoes on her unwilling daughter and get her to a therapist; whose daughter refused time-outs in her room and threw herself and bedroom items at me while I shielded myself, back to the door, to keep her from destroying the house in her anger – we all survived, we’re all fine and, in fact, said daughter is going off to college at the end of this week.

    We went through some bad and shaky times, but we hung in there and we’re all still together as a family. And happy.

    You can do it. You can figure it out. Professional help can be invaluable, but ultimately you know what your children need to grow up to be the wonderful adults you envision.

  8. Sybil Law says:

    I just came to the realization, myself, this year – and my kid is close to 9 years old – that the most frustrating things she does, are the things that I KNOW are from me. She’s argumentative, defiant -a little- to authority, and a perfectionist. (Not sure where the occasional whining comes from!) I’d already tackled the perfectionist stuff, and had to make some huge show every time I was wrong or messed up (which sucked -haha).
    Okay – I’m babbling. My point is, there’s really know way to know if we’re good parents or not. We are definitely all humans, though, and bound to screw up in countless ways until we die. The best parents have some crazy kids and the worst have some amazing ones. It’s all a frigging crapshoot that we counterbalance with love and foundation.
    Also, you seem like a perfectly good parent to me. :)

  9. Poppy says:

    You went to therapy to mend things with Jared.

    Consider therapy for mending things with Devin.

    A lot of turmoil has been in his life lately, and it’s really not surprising to me that he is acting. Sure, things between you and Jared are really great, but think of all the things that have changed in Devin’s world and his is a KID so his coping skills are very minimal.

    He might benefit from you going to therapy to learn how to help him through this, and having HIM go to therapy to discuss his fears and concerns and nurture his coping skills to a much better state.

    My mom brought me to therapy when I was 10 and the world around me was crashing and changing and fluxing and good for others but changing in a way I feared for me.

    It’s ok to do have outside professional help with your kids, too.

    • Poppy says:

      @Poppy, and I wish I’d proofread my comment first because I see lots of word oddities, but this is a passionate subject for me so I pressed Submit. :-/

      • Just Me says:

        @Poppy, Your comment is the best. @Miss Britt, your post hit me hard because I could have wrote it. Except I am doing this parenting thing alone. I used to think it was me and how I failed when my son started being a shit. Then I would see him act that way around his friends and them calling him out on it.

        Then we went to therapy.

        Hang in there, its not you failing.

  10. Jennifer says:

    Basically, it looks like I’m screwed. …If you are ten years in and having the same feelings I’m having at one year in- I have to wonder if that feeling ever goes away. Yikes!

  11. muskrat says:

    Not everyone can be as perfect as I am. But you know what? You don’t have to be.

  12. Haley says:

    You are not a terrible mother! I was an awful–and I mean, AWFUL–child, but I have wonderful parents. Nobody is perfect, and that includes children. They all go through phases and have flaws, and that’s not always a reflection on their parents!

  13. Cara says:

    Holy shit, I hope I don’t have to live up to your definition of a good parent. And, for the record I’m 33, have a bachelor’s degree in human development and a law degree, a stable home and have worked as a child advocate for a total of seven and a half years. When I gave birth to my first child this July, I was as ready as I’ll ever be. And I still know there will be periods where she makes me pull my hair out, embarrasses me, challenges me. I’m not saying you don’t have a problem and aren’t going to have to struggle right now; you say you do and I believe you. Its your life and your kid. I won’t say you’re a good parent, because it doesn’t matter what I believe. But, crap lets not set ourselves up with an impossible goal.

    I can tell you (based on both my academic background and my experience advocating for kids whose families are struggling enough to need the help of the court and DCF) that by far the MOST important factor in a child’s success is love. And that, you yourself said, you have in spades. So, you’ll have to work on being a better role model or setting better boundaries or whatever? Fine. He’ll learn it and he’ll be fine. Because he is loved passionately and fiercely, and kids who are loved like that are remarkably resilient.

  14. Becca says:

    Good mothers do get angry, they are embarassed, they are occasionally ashamed. Some children don’t bend, and if you push too hard they will break. Children are not mini adults, not all their decision making skills are built in. Especially with boys, I’ve learned not to expect perfection, and often times their behavior is not a reflection of you.

    I’ve known parents with great kids who were total pieces of crap, and I’ve known parents who did everything in their power and their kids were still awful.

  15. Just Me says:

    Thank you for sharing. You are not alone.

    And the comments from others are helping me as well.

    You have a gift with words.

  16. Linda says:

    I sooooo know how you feel. My kids are younger (2.5 year old boy and twin one year old girls), but I have this feeling all the time. Some days I think I rock at this, and other days I just want to curl up under a rock because I feel like such a failure. I have the same feelings as you – my most important goal in life is to be a good mother. Nothing else that I succeed at matters if I fail at parenting and screw up my kids. I don’t have any advice, but know that you’re not alone :) *hugs*

  17. Lexi says:

    All the things you’re feeling? Mean that you care. If you were a bad parent (i.e. didn’t give a shit), well, then, you wouldn’t give a shit. I get angry at my children…I get damned angry. But I’m still a good mother. And so are you.

  18. Lynda says:

    Do you have hidden video cameras in these “good mother’s” homes to see how they treat their child when they are not in public? You see someone who is a good parent, but you don’t know if they go home and treat their kids totally differently.

    When I got my divorce, people said we seemed so happy and in love. Well, what was happening behind closed doors was totally different than the show my ex liked to put on for people. Cut yourself some slack. I’m sure you are doing a great job. Kids don’t come with handbooks.

  19. Peggy says:

    Oh Britt, you’re just beginning! Welcome to motherhood. It only gets better! The nights get longer, the questions get harder and the issues get bigger. We just keep loving, wondering and worrying.

    Little people, little problems. Bigger people, bigger problems.

    Trust me on this one…

  20. Amy says:

    You are sooooo not alone. It is so weird how you posted this after the weekend I’ve had. Everything that drives me insane about my six year old is just the behaviors I know she learned from me. I love her so much, but feel I’m failing to teach her how to be a well adjusted human being which is MY job! Thank you for sharing

  21. naomi says:

    Britt darling … I know how you feel.

    BUT … I’m a good mother … and I spank, yell, curse, ignore, and am transparent with them when I am frustrated, angry at them, etc.

    Read (when you have time) “Even June Cleaver Forgets the Juicebox” by Anne Dunnewold. It’s a fab book about exactly what you’re talking about …. this notion that the quietly spoken, gentle moms are the only “good mothers” …

    As far as I’m concerned, I’m raising kids firmly grounded in reality … that this world is loud, angry, nasty, lovely, gentle, kind, and forgiving all at the same time.

    hugs to you sweets …

  22. Jill says:

    I think we all feel like we’re not good parents at some time in our ‘careers’. That’s what keeps us grounded. Keeps us on our toes. Reminds us that there may be other ways to handle situations.

    I know I may not always be a good parent to my kids… Right now I’m doing it solo as hubby is in Iraq for a year. But I’m doing the best I can with what I have. And if it isn’t good enough, then so be it.

    I truly believe that a head nod, the wink of an eye, and a smile make everything OK at the end of the day anyway.

  23. Headless Mom says:

    Oh Britt, I think you’ve just got it wrong. Our children are our mirrors, yes, but that doesn’t mean that we have to blindly accept what we see. You know best what his buttons are because they are your own. Think what would work best with you. Be honest. Tell him all of this. Talk about working these things out together. I think that you are a good parent! Some stages are just tougher than others.

    (Believe me when I say that OMG I know what you’re talking about. My son-the one that is your son’s age-is completely hormonal (or something,) right now and completely acting out. We’re not supposed to eat our young, right? ;-) Hang in there. I know that you’ll, um, we’ll get through it!)

  24. Gwen says:

    Ten is such a lovely age. I’ve got one. She can be the most angelic of angels. She can make me want to throw things at her twisted little face. Only thoughtless people think they’re doing this parenting thing well enough. We can’t. And the idea that we can is part of our desire to exert control over things that spin around crazily despite our best efforts.

    I’m sorry you’re in this difficult parenting place. Be kind to yourself, too.

  25. Nanna says:

    Sweetheart, if he is sarcastic and rude (and he can be – who can’t?), he is also soft-hearted, inquisitive, with a funny bone and a deep love for family. All of which he learned from you.

    You’re telling ME that kids’ behavior is all attributable to their mothers? ME? Maybe if you left them in a box with no interaction with anyone else. Ever.

    You? Are a WONDERFUL mom. I should have been so good. Love you.

  26. Raven says:

    Good mothers question if what they are doing is right, if the choices they are making for their child are the right ones, they second guess, they worry, THEY CARE.

    Absolutely no one is perfect, child nor mother but the ones that try? That’s as close as I think anyone is likely to get, flaws and all.

    He’s sarcastic and rude because HIS FRIENDS ARE (I’m not invalidating you or your contribution ;-) ) and friends are their freaking world at this age and the ages beyond. Trust me, I have a 15 year old and we have been going down the rabbit hole for some time around here.

  27. Being a parent is hard. Someone told me a good parent doesn’t know they are a good parent but their constant strive to be one makes them one!! I question myself on a daily basis, should I have done this, could I have done that, you are not alone Britt and I always take it personally. Having 2 teenagers is kicking my ass at the moment so this post touched a nerve.

  28. mel says:

    I’ve been feeling guilty of this lately. My 10yr old daughter is such a sarcastic, shit talker lately I come very close to ripping my hair out. My weekly therapy has revolved around this subject lately. From what I’ve been told, I set unrealistic goals for myself in parenting and the things I’m experiencing are normal and it just takes time to learn different methods of how to approach her and respond to her dramatics. It sucks though and it’s hard not to take it as a personal reflection of the example I’ve set with my own sarcastic and selfish ways. I hear you on that. Loud and clear.

  29. Laura says:

    I think you are going through what nearly every parent in America is going through. Part of this is just boy, part is being 10 nearing 11 with 12 right around the corner. Let me tell you from already having two boys who are now 20 plus a 12 yr old step son & my youngest 9 yr old boy that there is this stage that usually hits around 11 – 14 where they just turn into shits.

    They smart off (or they try) they are rude, they think they know more than you.

    It isn’t a reflection on you as a parent, but as a stage they are going through. My 20 yr old son was a royal ass between the ages of 11 and 14, I mean even his sister whom he is EXTREMELY close to will recall that it was the only time in their life they hated each other. Why? Because he was so mean.

    Well that 11-14 yr old ass eventually figured out what to do with all that testerone and it leveled out. He now is a very good young man whom has respect for women. He is also is in the Army with a deploy date of March.

    My point is, don’t try to analyze this to death thinking you have messed up as a parent. Your job is to just keep steadfast in your parenting beliefs. Keep the rules simply and don’t let up on consequences on what happens when he is an ass.

    Oh it’s hard. That first time he says “You suck as a Mom” will rip your heart out. However, deep down you will know that you are doing the right thing for him to grow in to a decent young man.

    So many parents at this stage just say “this is too hard” so they stop with disclipline. Just keep steadfast, he will eventually get it Britt. I promise.

  30. I think everyone here has got it right. It’s a common thing at this age for kids to start being little punks, I think. Think of it as training for the teenage years, when you’ll wish he was 10 again because this? Is going to be a walk in the park compared to dealing wiht a teenager!

    And if you were a bad mother, you wouldn’t give a damn. You try, you care, and you don’t stand for his crap. A bad mother would shrug and say “whatever”. I’ve seen bad mother’s, and you, my friend are not even close.

    Despite the thousands of books on the subject, there is no manual on how to be the perfect parent. Because it’s not real. Keep caring, keep pushing back and stand your ground and in the end he’s turn out to be a good person. You are doing it the best way you can. I also think that the idea of therapy might be a benefit, as Poppy suggested.

    Hang in there, you are doing fine!

  31. Kristin says:

    Yep. I’m there right now only he’s 7. My husband and I used to have a sarcastic banter like “hey, can you get the milk” “nope” (said while he goes to get the milk). But our son just heard the words and the sarcasm. It’s quite funny when your 3 year old can pop off saracasm, but not so funny at 7. And you’re right, you just look at him and go “I’ve created a monster and who allowed me to have this much power?”

    The other is his tone of exasperation. I can tell you that it took me about 6 months to change my constant “wha-a-at do you want?” tone from where he derived it. Him? Nah, he hasn’t lost it at all. He is so constantly exasperated that I’ve gotten so angry this past summer because I AM TALKING NICELY and he’s not.

    Huh. Please let me know if you figure out a solution. And then I’ll ship my kid to you for boot camp :)

  32. Finn says:

    I can’t read all of these comments now, so please forgive me if someone has already said this.

    It could be an age thing. Lil M can be sarcastic and rude as well. Mostly he’s fine around others.

    He’s ten. The hormones are firing up and he’s testing limits. He’s also very smart, which can make it even worse.

    We all think we’re doing it wrong. Well, except for the ones who probably really are doing it wrong. All you can do is try different approaches to see what works best with him (right now). And apologize to him when you lose it, which you will.

    These people should come with manuals, shouldn’t they?

  33. Darla says:

    Ok, let me take a guess….he’s either going into 5th grade or 6th grade right? 6th grade was the hardest year of our life. Seriously.

    It was horrific for me because he was showing my weaknesses in his personality and I already loathe my weakness, so him showing them made me loathe him. And I hurt. Oh how I hurt. I hated having a child because I couldn’t stand the pain of him living through what I’d already lived through and HATED.

    It was torment. Pure torment.

    And then? The sky opened up and he was in 7th grade. HALLE-FUCKING-LUIAH! Cuz I couldn’t stand one more second of that 6th grade bullshit.

    Hang in there, this too shall pass and I promise his personality will become more well rounded and you will be SO HAPPY he has some of you “grit” cuz he’s gunna need it in this life. AMEN.

  34. Gamanda says:

    Awesome. So what you’re telling me is that what little I know now with my 18 month old, will only get worse? This post resonated with me so much and I haven’t even had to tackle the important parenting issues! You better still be around in 9 1/2 years to help me through my meltdowns!

  35. Nyt says:

    I’m going to whack this out there..well..just because.

    Being a “good” parent is relative. As parents who love our children we do the best we know how at the time. You love your children, you’re doing the best you can at this point in time. So am I, so is every other loving parent out there.

    I tried to go back to 10.(for obvious reasons I couldn’t go back to 10 year old boy) And I remembered stuff… and then I thought about your son…

    For every upheaval, tragedy and change that you’ve experienced in the last year, so has he. And no matter how gifted or articulate, 10 will never have the capability to communicate with you on the same level. 10 comes with hormones and social changes along with all of the base things that come with growth.

    Then I thought about the latest change. The one where there’s a plan forming to travel the country for a year as a family. And it’s not just talk, there have been some actual steps taken…and I thought about being 10… and I thought about having no control over the things that go on around me… and then I thought about how 10 year old me would never be able to tell my parents about any of it, no matter how often they told me I could tell them anything. 10 year old me would act extra awful… and 10 year old me wouldn’t know exactly why…

    And this one? This one I probably should have sent in an e-mail

  36. Angella says:

    IT’S NOT YOU.

    Granted, I haven’t seen you in action but I have met you and I have read your words and I KNOW how much you love them.

    I have two (TWO!) good friends here who are amazing parents. AMAZING. And yet they each have been “blessed” with children who push every button and fight every boundary.

    IT’S NOT YOU.

    The fact that you worry about how good of a Mom you are is the exact proof that you ARE a good Mom.

    xoxo

  37. zchamu says:

    If there is one lesson, only one that I have learned so far in this parenting gig, it’s that some days, as long as everyone’s still alive and nobody ended up in the hospital, it’s a win.

    So, here’s what you take away from it: Sure, he was being a little shit. But did he in fact burn down the house or mug the old lady down the street? No? WIN.

    Some days, it’s the small victories. Other days will bring bigger ones. Hugs.

  38. beccasaun84 says:

    Ah man, I needed this post. (how incredibly selfish is that of ME?) But seriously, I have felt this exact. same. way. for the last few weeks, and no matter how well I try to articulate how I’m feeling, I couldn’t have put it better then this. Thank you for writing everything that’s been in my brain/heart and yes, I’m going to be sharing it with everyone I know.

    *insanely huge hug* And if it makes things any better- I truly don’t believe all of us who feel this way are bad parents, and we really don’t have bad kids… we’re all just fucked up souls trying to find our way through this life without killing one another (emotionally or otherwise) and you can’t get out without a few scars and bruises- kids, parents, siblings, spouses or otherwise. I know the “but you’re doing your best!” line is great and all, but it feels like bullshit in the middle of all of this- so just remember: you’re not alone, at least.

    *hugs*

  39. Jodifur says:

    Your not failing. We are all just doing the best we can. Your doing the best you can. Your a good mom.

  40. racheal says:

    I’m in such an odd place with the culture shock and missing M so intensely and deeply that my words are jumbled up and my thoughts perhaps not very cohesive.

    But I wanted you to at least know that I care. And I was listening. It takes a special mom to be able to admit when her child is being a shit and to want the so very best for him. It takes a special mom to be able to love as passionately and intensely as you do.

    I don’t have the fancy answers. I don’t know what’s wrong or how to fix it.

    I just wanted you to know that you’re not a horrible mom.

    And a hug just in case you needed one.

    Breathe in.

    Breathe out.

  41. tara says:

    Thank you for admitting that you get angry at your child. The ability to admit that, makes you a better mother than most, and I don’t even know you.

    We all do the best we can.

    And having a child of my own has opened my eyes and taught me not to judge someone at the grocery store whose child is having a meltdown. It might not be the parent’s fault, it really might be the kid. And that’s ok too.

  42. YOU ARE NOT A PARENTING FAILURE!

  43. RW says:

    After watching my youngest daughter turn 30 I have come to the realization that nothing I did mattered much anyhow – beyond them knowing that home is the place you can always come back to no matter what happens out there.

    Everything else is pretty much bullshit.

  44. Bennance says:

    “Good mothers are not angry with their children. Or disappointed. Or ashamed. Or embarrassed at how their children behave in front of others.”

    This is a huge parenting MYTH. Good mothers are mothers who are humble because they take the time to apologize to their children when their behavior demonstrates that they feel these things towards their children.

    All parents feel angry, frustrated, embarrassed, and even occasionally dislike their children. But a good mother encourages discourse and is open and honest when her behavior towards her child is unseemly.

    We are not perfect. But we can show our children the best way to live as imperfect people. We can make humility and asking for forgiveness a part of our family culture.

    Ultimately, living with others (children or spouses) leads us to frustration, anger and disappointment. THe key is what we do with those feelings and how we choose to act on them.

    Having these feelings does not make you a bad mother. Acting on these feelings and then not apologizing for these actions will demonstrate more to your child than if you were a perfect mother ever would.

  45. Mandi Bone says:

    You are a good mom. If you weren’t you wouldn’t be worrying that you are screwing up.

  46. Allyson says:

    Do you think it’s possible that you are particularly sensitive to Devin’s flaws *because* they are the very ones you are working on in you? It seems to me that the things about my own children that I find the most grating are the things that reflect my least favorite personality traits. And it’s embarrassing because when they whine or are selfish I feel like it broadcasts that *I* whine and am selfish. Which are the things I try to hide from everyone who is not my family. I suggest asking Adam and Faiqa what they think of Devin’s behavior. They may have a more balanced opinion of his traits. And try to remember, that he’s a genius, and *they* are more likely to act out at an early age. P.S. If you only knew how many of us look up to you for our good example, these posts would be much fewer.

  47. Mama Bub says:

    My brother? An AWFUL child. Awful. He’s a pretty cool adult though. My parents? Wonderful, wonderful parents. Truly. Children are just hard. I could have written everything you said above myself, except in reference to my three year old.

    I think good parenting lies in simply thinking about the kind of parents that we are and working to be better for our children. Not in perfection. No one expects that.

  48. AJ says:

    Here’s the thing…you care about whether you’re doing it right or not. That’s a step above A LOT of other parents out there.

    Here’s another thing….strong willed children may be frustrating, but they are usually not followers. Peer pressure isn’t as effective on them, so there’s that trade off. You can rest a little easier knowing your child can think for himself.

    Beyond that, I think all we can do is keep trying to be better. And our kids will see that. It’s a complicated generation. So many shithead kids out there thinking the world owes them and knowing nothing except instant gratification, so many shithead parents wanting to be their children’s friend and not their parent. It’s tough. Continual improvement is a HUGE thing to teach your child, and from your writing, I can tell you are always doing that.

    I became a parent unexpectedly at 22. None of my friends had babies until three years later, and most were five years later. I feel so much less prepared. So much less ready. So much less mature sometimes. But I keep trying to improve, and keep trying to mimic the positive behaviors of friends and family. I think that’s all we can do.

  49. I think Devin’s level of intelligence is part of it and part of it is his age.

    My son used to say to me “I’m smart enough to MAKE MY OWN DECISIONS!!!!” We yelled and screamed and cried. 5th grade wasn’t too bad because he had a great teacher, but 6th grade was so hard. Sometimes the smart kids take a LOT of shit from other kids at school. There may be things he won’t tell you because he doesn’t want you to worry, but it may cause him anxiety.That anxiety can make a kid really cranky. Mine learned in his teens that he was taking out some frustrations on me because it was SAFE to do it with me. That’s when he started apologizing for his outbursts.

    I once told a therapist that I must have been the world’s worst mother because my son was so miserable. She told me that if I was really the world’s worst mother, I wouldn’t give a crap about my son’s state of mind.

    He’s 25 now and pretty well adjusted and sweet and kind. Devin will be OK because he has a great Mom.

  50. It has been a long time since I read a post that really spoke to me. My children are only three and four, but I so completely, 100% identify with everything you said.

  51. Fuck, Brit, I consider myself a very good mother and I get angry at my kids, disappointed, ashamed and, boy, oh boy, have I been embarrassed by things my kids have done.

    We are all perfectly imperfect, moms and kids. To be perfectly perfect would be less human, and we’re here to have the human experience. You and I and our kids? We having the human experience to the max.

    (Those moms who get the endless compliments on their kids? They’re fucking lobotomized zombies, not humans.)

  52. Julie says:

    You mean, I’m not the ONLY one???

    LOL.

  53. I’ve seen you in action.

    YOU are a good mother.

    I know I’m a good mother, too, and I still have my faults, just like you do.

    We are BOTH good mothers.

  54. Lisa says:

    This is my first visit, so I’ll take you at your word. My big question is: Is he a shit just to you, or to others?

    {Edited by Miss Britt to remove comments specific to child and what kind of parent, spouse, etc. he’ll be in the future. Commenter suggested parenting classes – but was difficult to leave those references in while removing comments about child.}

    And you also might want to look at yourself. Why do you think it’s okay that you are rude and sarcastic? Now that you are on the receiving end, it should really show what it’s like for everyone else.

    What if you were given the gift of a child like you so that you can learn to give up the rudeness and the controlling?

    This comment was edited. I tried to leave the majority and apparent intent of the comment in tact as much as possible, but I’m also walking a careful line about what I will and will not allow to be posted about children.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Lisa, I don’t think it’s OK to be rude. I am definitely rethinking how I feel about sarcasm.

      It seems you missed the part of the post where I said that I was looking at myself.

  55. Becca says:

    @Lisa- Really? You’ve never been sarcastic or rude? You were a perfect parent your whole life?? I have personally had my 13 year old boy yell at me and one of my friends in public in the last three days. Now, the difference? My son has a mental illness and was in the middle of a manic episode.

    Is this something any parent who sees my boy screaming at me thinks? No they just jump on the crappy parent bandwagon, and judge me 7 ways to Sunday.

    All your ‘help’ doesn’t help if your words on this page are hurtful!

  56. DallasDiva says:

    I have to say I am mightily impressed that with Lisa’s first visit she was ready to jump in, comment AND comment negatively enough that you needed to delete part of it.

    Interesting.

    All I can say is that I teach high school and I have taught middle school. I’ve seen lots and lots of good kids/bad parents, good parents/bad kids and kids just doing what they do which is growing up and pushing boundaries. Don’t worry so much, my friend, I have no doubt you are doing a great job.

  57. Ophelia says:

    It’s simple. If you’re worrying about being a bad parent, than that makes you a good parent.

    The worst kind of parent is an apathetic one, and you, my dear are the total opposite.

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