“Honey, I think I abused the kids.”
The basic test is if you come home in a bad mood, you will abuse your children.
You might say to yourself, how can that possibly be?
Simple, from a child’s perspective it’s just not possible to be around a depressed parent and not be deeply affected. If you as a parent are in a bad mood, you can’t see or think of anyone else, and you can’t see how to respond to your children in ways they need.
Real child abuse is an extreme lack of empathy. And being empathetic is antithetical to being depressed.
My point here is not to instill guilt, but to show you a path to parenting that is simple and nourishing for you and your family.
If you are truly happy, meaningfully happy, the fulfilled kind of happy, then you will be a great parent.
It’s easy to be negative with your children. It’s also not that difficult to take a break and stop being negative. But the real wisdom is how to not be negative again tomorrow.
If you are in a bad mood, it’s easy for your children (or anyone) to set you off. Alternatively, when you are in a good, or even great mood, you will know how to bring out the best in everyone around you – including your children.
Happy people intuitively know how to raise happy children.
If you want to give your children the best, then give them you, at your best.