If people do something that surprises you, it's your fault.
I heard the phrase above a while back, and I just can't seem to get it out of my head. With some very minor changes, the same phrase applies to parenting. If a kid does something that surprises you, it's your own fault. Just to be clear, I'm mainly talking about the unpleasant surprises, like wiping a booger on grandma, streaking in front of company, dating a hoodlum... those types of things.
What does it mean?
Do humans, and therefore kids, have flaws? Do they get emotional and act erratically? Of course they do, that's part of the fun of being a kid. You get to figure out your likes, dislikes, and pet peeves. As parents you get to watch as your child grows into his or her own person, with opinions and ambitions that may be different than your own. So it should come as no surprise when a kid surprises you. Makes perfect sense, right? Well, maybe not, so in a nutshell... based on the fact that humanity isn't perfect, and kids are kids, it's guaranteed that at some point, your child will behave differently than the 'norm.'
Whether you believe it or not, if you're constantly thinking that there's nothing your child can throw at you that would catch you off guard, it allows you to do something. That something is removing the emotional response to whatever comes your way. It's at this point where my wife would accuse me of being a robot and having no feelings, however, if you separate your emotions from the situation, you can more objectively view, and handle, the 'surprise.'
Control yourself. It doesn't matter if your emotions are good or bad, your children feed off of them... this is why I've chosen to be a robot.
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