sideline parenting (10 of 12) — beat the clock

Parenting Advice from the World’s Greatest Coaches (with a charlie’s house wind up)

Today you have 100 percent of the remainder of your life left.   (Tom Landry, former Dallas Cowboys coach)

One of the things that has a tendency to get me down about my impact as a parent is “regret”. There are so many times that I look back at some of the snap judgments that I applied to certain situations with my children that I wish I could re-do.  Some were in haste, some where in anger, and some where in desperation. Others were done with the best intentions, but fell well short of the intended impact. I used to mull over these times and study them with great detail in the attempt to limit the chances of a repeat performance.

Now that I am older and wiser, the only thing that I regret is “regret” itself.

I am going to keep this blog short and sweet so that even the readers with an attention span as short as Mike Ash will be able to put down their Ritalin bottle long enough to get something out of it. The message is simply this. Sometimes parenting makes you feel like you have to make quick decisions. Sometimes you will have to make choices on how to respond to certain events. Sometimes you will make the wrong choice.

Then, after you get off your “I am Dad, hear me roar” pedestal of power, you may actually want to assess the situation. If you can figure out a better way of presenting your case, try apologizing for being a jackass. You don’t always have to retract your view, just the way that you presented it.

That’s all, apologize and do it over…..NOW.

Don’t wait for your guilt to take over. Don’t wait for your wife to get up the courage to call you out on your “butt-hole-ness”, and for goodness sake, don’t let your children try to figure out what they did to deserve the release of the Dad-Kraken. Remember, all you did was make a mistake. There is no need for any member of your family to carry around a burden of regret, confusion, or disappointment.

You have 100% of your remaining relationship with your children left as of this moment. It’s never to late to get started. It’s never to late to start over. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes. But nothing this important will ever be as easy as this.

Try this on for size: “Hey, my man. I am sorry for the way I said what I said. I have way more respect for you than that. I just really want you to understand what I am trying to say. I’m gonna try it again, but this time I promise to leave Mr. Jerk Face chained up in the back yard.

Then, if you really have any Dad-balls, you can ask him which explanation he liked better. Give him permission to be honest, and thank him for being truthful and brave.

Let me know how it goes…


3 Responses to sideline parenting (10 of 12) — beat the clock

  1. amommystory says:

    Great post- great blog! Regret is a huge parenting obstacle,. I’m writing Tom Landry’s quote down; maybe I’ll kick my regretting habit yet! Thanks, H.

  2. Nick says:

    I have to tell you that its nice to know there are other Mr. Jerk Faces out there. I’m with my 7 1/2 year old son every other weekend and every Wednesday .
    I have found that if I didn’t own up to my mistake before we leave each other. I am miserable. I wont sleep and the guilt becomes unbearable.
    In the past 6 months or so I have done exactly what you describe. My little man is very stubborn (Mothers side) he wants to please me so bad that he wants to do everything. Mind you most of the time he will make what ever it is… FUN. This also means many times things go wrong and winds up with something I need to correct.
    I have more on my mind these days then I have ever had in my life time. I dont know how to keep Mr.Jerk Face in check. I know these things will pass and I am trying so hard to not have to regret anything.

  3. Mike Ash says:

    wow, that was so easy to read…

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