Receiving feedback about parenting from your children needs to be normalized. Whenever we are doing a different job or anything else in life, feedback is a natural part of the process and it needs to happen. Only if you don’t parent in a way that is effective or healthy for your child, it can have lasting consequences.
My Experience Giving Feedback to My Parents
It is no secret that my upbringing was abusive. I was always afraid to say something to my parents, especially my father. I was really scared of him, even as an adult. Even as an adult he was always talking down to me, yelling at me and being verbally aggressive. He loved the control he had over me.
When I was pregnant with Roo, my husband finally got it through my head that I did not need to be treated like this. He told me that I was pregnant and we did not want to continue to toxicity with our kids. He was right. When they were down in Florida, we met at thier house (they are snowbirds) to all go together for Chinese food. It was my aunt, uncle and cousins. I went up to his office and told him that I didnt want to be talked down to anymore. I was as respectful as I could be. I really tried. He said OK in a cold tone.
After we got seated at the restaurant, he made an announcement, “Amanda does not know the meaning of family.” I was very pregnant, on extra hormones to make the pregnancy stick and was in flight or fight. I ran to the bathroom. Later I found out Nick yelled at him. He told him he thinks he is a big man for bullying a pregnant person. He got mad. He was able to comfort me in the bathroom and went back to eat. If we had our own car there we would have just left. This was before Uber or Lyft. We were stuck. This was the beginning of the end of my relationship with my biological family.
Telling My Kids That I Want Feedback
After this incident, I vowed I would be a better parent than what I grew up with. It was not easy. I was modeled very toxic parenting and I consciously vowed to change. I had to put everything I did and said under a microscope so to speak.
When my kids all got older, I was always concerned about whether or not I was doing the same things my parents did. My kids seemed happy so I thought I was doing a good job. My husband would give me feedback on what I was doing so I can stop.
The thing is I am very sensitive to tone. This is due to my childhood. I react to certain tones and I try to change it but I cannot. I get very defensive when certain tones are used and it just has been that way since I was a kid.
When the kids got older, around 8, I told them that if they see something that I am doing I want them to tell me, but to watch the tone so I don’t get defensive. I wasn’t trying to tone police them but I wanted to make sure that I did not react in a certain way that could be harmful.
My Kids Giving Feedback
- We don’t punish
- We listen to our kids
- We try not to raise our voice but sometimes we slip up
- show more patience
- when patience is running low we separate ourselves into a different room, get composed and then go back and talk with the kids
- We give them autonomy. We don’t go through their phones but they have the understanding when something gets weird or doesn’t feel right they are to show us right away. They are thier own people and need to be respected as such. This is why they don’t get identified on this blog or any of my social media. It’s to respect them as individuals.