Thoughtful Parenting: Dear parent … from your child
September 3, 2017
Dear Parent of Mine,
I have a hard time talking about what is going on in my head, so I thought I would write you a letter.
I love you so much, and you are the perfect parent for me. I know you want me to be happy and successful in life. I just wish you didn’t worry so much about my future. I can tell that you are worried about me. Sometimes, you worry that something is wrong with me and that I might not be normal. You worry that I won’t learn everything I need to know. You worry that I won’t have any friends. You worry that I won’t be good enough. I’m sorry to tell you this, but your worry makes me worry about myself.
Sometimes, your worry makes you grumpy. When you are grumpy with me, it makes me grumpy, as well. I don’t know why that is, but it’s just something I have noticed.
I think things would be better if you could just look really hard to see what I do have going for me. After all, I am being raised by you, and you are teaching me so many great things that will help me later in life.
I know you get mad at me sometimes. When I don’t do something right, you think you need to correct me right that minute. But, you are so mad, and you say things that you don’t really mean. Then, I say things that I don’t really mean. I think it would be good if we both took some time to cool down, then talked through it. Even if it takes a while, that would be better than us hurting each other. I need you to show me how to calm down before responding to things.
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Remember that time that I was so frustrated about my homework that I threw a temper tantrum? You tried to help me calm down, but I was so upset with myself. Then, you started getting upset. You were so worried about me not getting my homework turned in the next day.
What would my teacher think about me? What would my teacher think about you? We ended up yelling at each other, and that just made things worse. Maybe I needed to learn to take care of myself when I am so frustrated and take a break. I was exhausted and just needed to sleep. Maybe, in the morning with a fresh perspective, I could have figured it out. You have things to teach me about life that go well beyond my homework sheet.
Sometimes, you will still get mad at me. Sometimes, you will still regret the way you handle things. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Just apologize for losing your cool. This will teach me to take responsibility when I mess up.
Every day, I am learning from what you say and do.
Thank you for loving me, no matter what, and for wanting the very best for me.
Tina Harlow, MSW, LCSW is founder of Guiding Bright and the parent of two children. Harlow provides individual and family counseling to children who are bright, highly sensitive and experience inter and intrapersonal struggles that impact their happiness. Visit her website at guidingbright.com.