If you hired a babysitter or a nanny and caught them staring at their phone instead of watching your kids, you’d be livid. If you walked into a room and discovered a teacher or a grandparent or anyone, yelling at your kids, you’d be difficult to stop. If you heard someone make a snide remark or tease them, you’d put an immediate end to it.
And yet…and yet you do these things all the time! You feel your frustration rising and rising and rising as they don’t listen and bam, you grab their arm and tell them to STOP IT NOW. You’re ignoring the soccer game, or worse, their repeated attempts to get your attention or worse still, while they’re playing in the pool…for what? For an email? For a text? To scroll Twitter? You think you’re funny and you like to joke around…but if you saw someone else doing it, you know what you’d call it? You’d call it bullying.
We’d never let anyone else get away with what we rationalize or excuse of our own behavior. That’s not to say you’re abusive or a bad parent—not at all. It’s just a reminder: Your job isn’t just to protect your kids from other people. It’s to protect them from your own bad habits, your own temper, your own flaws too. It’s to demand of yourself what you’d expect from anyone to whom you’d trust your kids. That is to say: You have to demand the best of yourself.
No excuses. No double standards. Watch yourself as you’d watch a nanny cam. Trust but verify just as you would a new school or a daycare. Ask yourself: Would I let anyone else get away with this?