Parenting Fails – Not-So-Shining Moments in Parenting

There are many things that I know we do right as parent: Patient Husband and I have kept our two kids alive and healthy for almost six and two years, respectively, and that in itself is quite an accomplishment! We hang out and play with the children, we respect their opinions, we limit screen time, we read to them, we feed them healthy meals, we keep them away from BPA, pesticides and other harmful substances… and Patient Husband should get an award for most Parcheesi games ever played with a five-year-old. So, as a parent, I’ve had many a proud moment where I think to myself “Wow, you handled that one well!”, or “Boy, they sure are lucky to have parents like us!”

On the flip side, there are also a few (more than I would like) instances of which I am definitely not proud. In those cases, I was not the calm, measured and mature parent I strive to be. Instead I probably more resembled the “DON’T EMULATE THIS” picture in the parenting encyclopedia.

Maybe you’ve been there too? Have you found yourself irrationally screaming, “stop yelling!!” at a toddler? Have you been so furious at the umpteenth interruption by a Kindergartner, who only “wanted to show you something”, that you totally snapped at him? Have you ever literally howled in frustration at yet another messy catastrophe caused by a small person who was just.not.listening… again?? Have you caught yourself saying those expressions you swore to yourself as a child you would never say… the “Because I said so!” and the “I don’t care what you want – you’re doing X!” and “It’s my house and I make the rules!”??

photo credit: Amy McTigue via photopin cc

I can only hope that my all-too human outbursts just show my kids that adults get frustrated and are fallible also. And I do try to learn from my parenting ‘fails’: I try to apologize to my kids if I’ve been wrong, and to talk to them about a better way mommy could have expressed herself. Mostly I fervently hope that even the not-so-great experiences leave them having learned something positive, such as how to handle it when you’ve messed up. (Or, if that’s not possible, I hope that they don’t remember the episode!)

What do you consider ‘parenting fails’? I don’t mean truly neglectful or hurtful actions, but those screw-ups that the most well-intentioned of us commit? How do you handle it when you’ve done something around your kids that you really wish you hadn’t?


DecaturMamaofTwo is a Gemini, a reader, a linguist, and a recently-inspired runner. She is mama to two kids (almost six, and two) and married to a very patient man. Some of her favorites include reading, laughing, eating chocolate and a-hah moments. Her secret vice is reading trashy romances. Currently she is teaching high school French.

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