When my daughter, Sofi, was little I would get very frustrated on busy and stressful school mornings. I would get mad when I had to fix her unruly curly hair several times, or when I thought she should change her clothes because she had picked out something miss-matched or ugly.
One day I was so mad I scolded her for the entire twenty minute drive to school then dropped her off a half block away. I told her to get out and made her walk alone. As she got out of the car I told her it was her fault we were always late. She was in kindergarten. I remember watching her walk into school so small and sad. What a s***ty way to start your school day.
At the time I was a single mother, attending a difficult nursing school program and I lacked adequate coping skills. But these circumstances, in no way, excuse my behavior.
This was 10 years ago and I have absolutely no recollection of what it was she had done but I do remember, very clearly, how I treated her. I remember the look on her face as I kicked her out of the car. I remember her slow walk into the school and I remember my heart breaking because of my cruelty.
I tell this story as a reminder to myself and perhaps to other parents that there is a better way. There is a way to parent without shame, excessive scolding or fear. I have learned a thing or two about parenting from my many mistakes. I have been the kind of parent I do not want to be. I have come to see that I am the one responsible for the quality of my parent/child relationship.