Many of us worry that our dysfunctionality will somehow be passed down on to our kids, yet statistically that’s more than likely that’s already happening. So if you don’t already think you doing a bad job as a parent, it’s because you’re probably in denial. Yet, if on some rare occasion you start to feel good about the obvious “bad” job you’re doing of being a parent, here are 3 sure-fire ways to ensure you bring yourself down a peg or three in the fantastic parents stakes.
1) Get judged harshly by your parental peers by…
A) Losing your shit at one of your kids at the swings.
40 years ago if you started foaming at the mouth at how pissed off your kids made you, adults would nod in sympathy and feel sorry for you. Times have changed, now they just sneer in undisguised derision and try quickly to dial social services to ensure your kids are removed from the monster you have obviously become. OK, your house is about to be foreclosed, you just lost your job and your mum died last week, yet that’s no excuse for being such asshole you poor little Timmy. Getting cross, angry and barking at your kids like a store manager from the 70s, will rightfully invite the distain by all the parents you’re surrounded by and make you feel five minutes later all the guilt you should feel for daring to be human in public playground. Shame on you, you’re an animal.
B) Walking your kids to school wearing headphones.
This classic “I am a bad parent” move to draws many looks of dismay, judgment, contempt and pity. Slap on a pair of those Dr. Dre Beats that are child/noise proof and tell all the world as you stroll toward school, “I am actively avoiding all communication with my children and no matter how hard they tug on my sleeve the brain shop is closed and they can fuck right off!” By the time you wave goodbye you will rightfully be feeling very bad about yourself. Our children need to heard and feel listened to and you just didn’t do that. Instead your grooved along to classic song from the 00’s The Fray “How To Save a Life.” Well how about how you save yourself from being such bad parent? Too late I think.
2) Read any 10 articles on positive parenting form the Huffington Post “parenting” section.
Getting the judgments of others is easy. Yet getting the hypercritical judgment of yourself is even easier. Unlike like our parents, we have so much knowledge and information on and what to do and what not to do, which great resource for feeling shit about the kind of mum and dad you have become. Huff Po is a treasure chest of therapists, parents and experts who are doing it right and sharing with you how you’re most likely doing it wrong, like mostly all the time. What you rationalise as “doing your best” turns out is actually doing the worst and has already left your children scarred and certified emotional basket cases and that’s best case scenario. Article after article will give you tips, insights and strategies to validate how the last ten years as a parent you have fucked up in a major way, whilst simultaneously telling you not to stress out, because you know, kids absorb that stress you asshole. The only consolation is finding ammunition that you spouse is even worse than you.
3) Watch any movie or documentary on spelling bees.
OK you thought the fact your ten year old spells the word “tree” as “chree” wasn’t too bad. Yet to see how appalling a parent you actually are, just watch some super smart kid from the ghetto at age nine, spell hundreds of words you have never even heard of, let alone you can spell. See how they had parents that devoted time and energy into nurturing their child’s gift and watch lovingly how they bloomed. Sorry, your child’s skill of opening a bag of Cheetos with their feet just doesn’t compare.
So it’s important to remember that being happy is the greatest gift you can pass on to your kids, yet also remember that you don’t deserve to be happy because you’re mostly a bad parent. Yet don’t get too down on yourself, you can always go out and buy a book on learning to be less self-critical: Let’s face it, you’re probably way too down on yourself and your low self-esteem can’t be too good for your kids can it? Christ you really are a bad parent.