Wednesday 8 October 2014


There are times in parenting where you sit back at the end of the day and think to yourself, ‘Wow, did I handle that one badly.’ Side note: anyone that doesn’t have these moments is in extreme denial, as we know as a human race we are far from perfect. When raising a four year old, these moments come often, as there are many times that through frustration and an accumulation of not having slept properly for years, you find yourself making choices from an emotional – and often reactionary place -  and not necessarily an intellectual one. When this happens, I of course scold myself, as I pride myself on being able to look at things from all angles and love the intellectual deductive process. But, as any parent will tell you, emotions are very difficult to remove from a situation, so whereas you could’ve shut the tantrum down with an ‘I hear your frustration sweetie,’ you dig your heels in and fight your corner, like a stubborn mule.

But contrary to past generations that were more prone to the think that the parents, i.e. the authority figures, knew all, our generation is a bit more open to the fact that we have no clue what we’re doing most of the time. Moreover, there is not a day that goes by that I am not aware that as a parent, I am apt to make many mistakes and I’m perfectly willing to apologize for them. In terms of the King, I’m certainly all about holding a strong line (the kid has a will to rival his appetite) and set clear boundaries for what is acceptable to us, but in saying that, my husband and I are the first to accept when we royally screw up and tell the King just that. These moments can often be amusing as he’ll look at us, slightly puzzled that an adult is apologizing to him. Then a look washes over his face that is tinged with contentment as if to say, ‘well, yes, I felt wronged damn it, and you people can’t always be right.’ (Keep in mind he is four and he pretty much always feels as if he’s in the right).

I feel very strongly that as a life lesson, this is one of the most important a parent can teach a child, the ability to say one’s sorry and accept responsibility for one’s actions. If we as parents are constantly telling our children to apologize to others when they screw up, but can’t apologize to our own children when we do, how on earth are they going to learn this lesson? Moreover, I want the King to know that we are all flawed, and one’s actions can often dwarf the best of intentions.

Throughout my life, I have often found myself in positions where although due a heartfelt apology, I was never given one. Be it out of pride, ego or profound denial, the person (s) was simply not able to look at their own actions and accept that they negatively affected those around them – or they simply didn’t think they needed to apologize, ha! It’s an extremely frustrating and heartbreaking place to find oneself in, as it seems like such a simple mathematical equation. You screw up, you say your sorry. Life moves on. Only if life were so easy.

But, as any one knows, just because you think you are due an apology, certainly does not mean you are going to get one (note to self: tell the King, some days mama is going to lapse into this way of thinking). This is where all those fun shades of grey come in. Just because you may not think you owe someone an apology, you have to take those pesky little things called ‘their feelings’ into consideration. Ah yes, those tricky little things. And yes, here’s another little life note that goes far beyond parenting…if you find someone across from you trying to relay their feelings, whether you like it or not, hear them out. We don’t exist in a vacuum, and whether it’s your four year old venting his frustration that the cheese ran out, or your brother saying he’s sick of being called 24-7 to come and fix broken sh*t around your house, be open to what is being said. I’m not saying it’s easy, but gasp, shock and awe, you might just learn something.

Copyright © 2014 Anthea Anka - Delighted And Disturbed