“Why does it always appear that everyone else’s kids are perfect, except mine?” A friend wrote this message on Facebook. I knew she was really asking, “What am I doing wrong?” It’s a question many of us ask ourselves when it comes to parenting.
Despite your friends’ Facebook posts, you know that no one’s kids are perfect and that no one is a perfect parent. But in the middle of all of the moving, deployments, and general life activities, it’s easy to worry that you may not be doing your best when it comes to the kids. What mistakes do you think you are making because of being a military family? Don’t worry, we won’t post them on Facebook! In fact, let’s help you turn these “mistakes” around.
1. My kids see me worrying about the next big change
Maybe you are not looking forward to the next move. Or you are worried about an upcoming deployment or even separating from the military. Have you ever heard the saying, “Little pitchers have big ears?” It means those kids of yours are sponges. They soak up everything you tell your neighbor, mom and friends.
…But they may be worried too! Talk with them about one or two of your own worries and how you plan on dealing with them. Pick ones that are age-appropriate, like your concerns about making your own new friends. Then ask your kids what they are concerned about with the upcoming change. Your kids may even help you feel better about your own worries while you help them with theirs.
2. I have a hard time being positive around the kids
Life is not perfect. It never will be. You may get stationed someplace you can’t stand or end up with neighbors who are a challenge to your patience. Do you talk a lot about how much you dislike the situation when the kids can hear you? Chances are you’ll hear those words coming back to you when they start talking about how much they hate their new home or school.
…You may not like the cards you were dealt, but how you play them will impact how your kids view the situation. Negativity will just create more negativity, so work at finding some good in the day and be purposeful about sharing those moments with your kids. Not only will you be helping them to feel better about the situation, but you’ll be helping yourself start to see the good too.