Parenting is tough. It’s joyful, rewarding, amazing and all sorts of other wonderful things but it’s also really, really hard. Childbirth was easy in comparison to actually being a parent and living the day-to-day challenges. There are far more good days than bad days and more rewards then not but some days are challenging. When I was teaching before I had children, I gave a lot of “text book” advice. When I was babysitting and working in childcare, I gave tips, suggestions and everything in between. Even today with my own children, I’ll happily offer parenting tips or ideas. I’ll pin everything under the sun related to parenting and motherhood. I’ll loan out my bookshelf of parenting books like I’m a library. I have enough of them to start one!!
Except, what works for one child, one family, one parent…won’t necessarily work for the next.
There is no one way.
There is no right way.
There is no perfect solution that is a one-size fits all.
I wish there was. It sure would make life easier.
The kicker of it is, regardless of what I pin, what I read, what I know, what I see others do or what advice I give others or have given, I need to look inward and ask some tough questions.
Parenting Self-Reflection Interview Questions
What do I mean by this?
I mean, I have to interview myself about my parenting and GET REAL. There is always a root to the problem and I may or may not be the root but I need to darn well find out and see what I can do to be a better parent. That is my job.
If I could duplicate myself and sit down with me, how would I answer the questions that I have personally asked other parents as an early childhood professional? Here’s what I asked myself today and be warned, if you do this you need to be 100% honest because you’re talking to yourself here and it’s about helping your child and your parenting. There is no cheating, covering anything up or making excuses. Get REAL.
- What problems and issues are you having with your child?
- What solutions have you tried in the past or are you currently trying?
- Have you been consistent with whatever solution you tried before determining it worked or did not work?
- What has worked in the past?
- What has not worked in the past and why?
- Are you and your spouse or partner on the same page with parenting? If you answer no, why not and how can you change this?
- Are you role modeling bad behavior (screaming, door slamming, negative self-talk out loud, sarcasm, bad language, fighting with your spouse, etc.)?
- How is your child sleeping at night? Do they have a decent bedtime for adequate developmental rest?
- How does your child eat during the day? Do you limit their sugar, processed foods and artificial flavors and additives?
- Is your child having issues in school or outside of the home?
- Does your child have a consistent routine?
- Does your child have set expectations?
- Does your child take any medicine that has side effects related to behavior?
I’ll get real with you. I’ll be honest. When I answered these questions, the same questions I’ve asked others when trying to help them with their child’s behavior or a particular issue…I can see some issues that relate to me the parent.
For example, I’ve tried a lot of discipline strategies, parenting techniques and reward systems but I can’t say I’ve been consistent. So did they work? I guess I’m not really sure. Do I role model bad behavior which my child then in turn models right back at me or my spouse? Yes. I scream and I’m trying not to but, yes, I scream at times and I can be sarcastic. I might even role my eyes or slam a drawer or door. Nothing I am proud of, trust me. Yet, I’m being genuine and honest so I can improve and see where I’m at fault and what I can do to be a better role model and parent. I’ve fought with my spouse in front of my child. I’ve floundered with expectations and could do better at limiting sugar and junk. I’m not perfect but some of what I’ve done has probably caused a few of the issues I’m having with my child.
Doing some parenting self-reflection helped me to realize this.
When you hold the mirror up to yourself and ask the tough questions, it sucks. It’s hard. It even hurts and the person looking back at you in the mirror has shame in their face, tears, frustration and deep sadness and remorse. Probably very similar to what you see when you see your child after they’ve done something wrong. It stings.
The good news is, the questions paint a picture that can be brightened. Where there are clouds and thunderstorms you can paint over those with sunshine. It sounds silly and like rainbows, cupcakes and unicorns but it’s true and tomorrow when you wake up and look in the mirror, you can see hope.
Yesterday, I didn’t feel hopeful. It was a tough parenting day. It was one of those days where I just wanted to go to bed and forget the day even happened. One of those days, you know what I mean?
Today, I interviewed myself. I went to myself for help and there were some pretty clear answers starring back at me. Today, I felt hope and it’s a new day. Sometimes we just need to stop and do some self-reflection and we’ll find the answers we are looking for.
Download your own free interview questionnaire by clicking here. Remember, this is based on my own personal and professional experience. Maybe it will help you, maybe it won’t but it helped me. I’m just sharing with you what I used for myself. Feel free to add your own questions, this is meant for self-reflection. The point is to look inward and see what you can do better as a parent but not to point fingers and say that what will work for one person will work for another. No, it is to improve and realize there is hope.
Disclaimer and Note: If you’re concerned about your child’s well-being, safety or your own please seek professional help immediately! It is always wise to keep an open and honest dialogue open with your family doctor and there is nothing wrong with seeking help or professional therapy when needed.