I recently read a short article online about how a parent's style of child rearing could affect the mental health of their child. Just the title of the article itself caught my immediate attention and I quickly skimmed over it. The point of the article was that researchers say by matching your parenting style to your child's personality, you can greatly reduce the child's risk of anxiety and depression. I got something else out of it all together. The first thing I thought of was how I tend to erupt sometimes when I get upset about something and the kids witness my anger. I always wish I could erase those moments. Always. I never want them to have to see me mad. I just have a terrible method of coping with my emotions. I have an especially difficult time managing my aggression if I am running on less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep. Something I need to work on. I am working on it.
I never ever take my anger or frustrations out on the kids in any physical way. It's just the tone of voice I use that I am sure is scary to them. For example, a few days ago my son and I were in the bathroom like we are every morning right after he wakes up. I leaned over to help him take his diaper off to use the potty (we're taking baby steps towards potty-training), and my cell phone slipped out of my sweatshirt pocket onto the floor into what appeared to be a puddle of water. I immediately blurted out some choice words in an angry tone, was about to grab a towel to wipe up what I thought was a pool of leftover bath water from last night's bath, when I come to find out that my phone had landed not in water, but a big puddle of liquid baby soap. Keyboard side down. UGH. More angry outbursts. Then I stopped myself.
I recognized that my tone was not appropriate for my son's ears. I realized that I didn't want him to see me mad like that. I explained to him what happened and why I had become upset. Then I tried to salvage my phone before we picked up his sister from her crib and went downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast.
So while I'm glad the title of this article made me think about how I need to control any angry outburst that might come over me in daily life, I think the information the study was able to reveal was even more enlightening. My 3-year old is so happy, inquisitive, energetic, and smart that I'm going to work on allowing those qualities to show through my parenting in order to hopefully give him a stable mental health starting point. There are so many smiles, giggles, hugs, kisses, songs and dances that I love to share with my kids. I'm going to continue to focus on staying positive, supportive, and loving in order to nurture my growing kiddos.
Our liquid baby soap has since been transferred into a pump dispenser so as to avoid another near cell phone drowning.