I like to think that I have a good Firm Parent Voice, that my deep tones when my children are in trouble are fearful enough to stop them from doing whatever it is they’re doing wrong. (It rarely happens, but I still think it.) And, I’ll put my hands up: sometimes, when they really wind me up, I’ve been known to raise my voice. So I’m not a textbook parent. Sue me, Supernanny.
So I tell my kids off, they behave (eventually), we all get on with our lives and I think nothing more of it. Until now.
“Isaac drew a picture this morning,” says my wife. “He said it was of you when you tell him off.”
She hands me a small pocket diary, in which is scrawled a drawing in thick pencil. And it’s pretty shocking.
This is how my son sees me when I’m telling him off: big buggy eyes, an angry mouth, yelling ‘LISTEN!’. (I don’t know what the pointer and blackboard is about, but I would draw your attention to the fact he got the sums right. And that thing above my head is the decorative light we have in our lounge, I presume, or one of those head massager things.)
I went through three phases: shock, appreciation that actually it’s a pretty good drawing for a six-year-old, and then shock again. It’s quite a scary image, and one I’d not given much thought to before: that when I’m telling my son off he’s seeing me as some kind of big, terrifying, bug-eyed monster. (I’m assuming he’s not just mocking my slight astigmatism.)
It’s made me think. It is not a good thing that he sees me this way when I’m disciplining him; and so, next time, I will think twice before raising my voice. The last thing I want to be, of course, is a monster. Especially one with big buggy eyes.