I have always had an issue with the phrase “you have to be cruel to be kind.” Cruel…really? Just think about the definition of the word: to wilfully cause pain or suffering to others, without feeling any concern about it.
As a community we are enraged when harm is intentionally inflicted upon animals yet for some reason some of us turn a blind eye when random fellow human beings are left hurt without a visible external scar. We think maybe they deserved it, perhaps it wasn’t so bad, maybe they are too sensitive, don’t have a sense of humor or just need thicker skin.
Whatever the case, here are a few facts:
Your child will indefinitely face many challenges in his or her life.
He or she will make countless mistakes and fall plenty of times.
They may get bullied by a friend or stranger.
They may get teased or ostracized for being different.
They may get called stupid, fat or ugly.
One day they may get their heart broken, they may get fired, dumped, rejected, betrayed, cheated on, abused, humiliated, hurt or feel totally defeated.
You don’t know what life will throw their way.
You honestly just don’t know.
Life is hard enough without you making your children’s life even harder. That doesn’t mean you should become a permissive parent, who cushions their children from reality. That doesn’t mean you should spoil your kids with so many material gifts they begin to feel entitled and greedy.
I’m also not suggesting rules and disciplines should be avoided because I firmly believe rules need to be set and that appropriate discipline should always be carried out when needed.
Instead I want you to consider how important your role is as a parent. You are your children’s safe place, their guide, their protector, their provider, their leader and major source of inspiration and motivation.
Your children look to you for example and advice, so when you are dismissive of their feelings it hurts them.
When you don’t listen to what they have to say, they think their opinions don’t count.
When you act as if your phone is more important than spending time with them, they begin to think electronics are more important than people.
They don’t need you to roll your eyes at them when they say something silly. They need your understanding.
They don’t need you to get angry when they are running late. They need your patience.
They don’t need you to lose your temper when they break something. They need your forgiveness.
Life is hard enough without you making their life even harder. If your child is having a terrible time outside in the world, the last thing he or she needs is to come home and feel like they don’t belong there either.
If your child can’t feel safe and secure with you, the person who is supposed to take care of them, where else will they go to find that safe haven?
Instead of drilling your children with unrealistic demands and harsh consequences, why not kill them with kindness instead. Be the person you want your children to be. If you want them to be caring, act with care. If you want them to feel loved, love them. If you want them to be compassionate, show them compassion.
Watch your words because the way you speak to your kids will eventually become their inner voice. Most of the time, they believe everything you say to them because they think you are the wise one, you are the one who knows them best.
Tell them they are stupid and they will believe it. Insist they are lazy and they will live up to your expectations. Once again, life is hard enough without you giving your kids extra baggage to carry with them through life. Have you ever wondered how heavy these bags are, the ones filled with disapproval, negativity and stress?
If you already know from experience that the world can be an unrelenting, unforgiving place, why not try to make your time with your children special? Why not shower your kids with unconditional love and create for them – and for yourself too – an environment filled with acceptance and peace?
Seriously if you as a parent – the person who is supposed to love your child the most – aren’t willing to give them that support and try to make their life a little easier, then who will?
I would sincerely love to know, who will?