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My parenting fail was epic. While I try to be a deliberate mom, this fail was my undoing.

I frightened my child.

It hurts to type those words.


I’m going to reveal something deeply personal here. I’m almost scared to share this with such a broad audience. However, I recently wrote an email about this same incident and I had a few email subscribers mention that it was reassuring to hear about my screw up – and how it transformed my parenting approach.

I’m truly embarrassed to share this, but if my discomfort helps another parent, then it’s worth it.

This mom is sharing her parenting fail and how it made her a better mom. #realparenting #keepingitreal #honestmotherhood Click To Tweet

I have this vivid memory of the day it clicked, when I knew I needed to find a more positive way to parent my children.

My oldest daughter threw her body on the ground and shouted, “I don’t want to clean up!”

I kept my cool… until she screamed it for the sixth time.

I snapped.

And I yelled back.

I screamed that she will clean her mess and she won’t get to go anywhere, or play with anything until it was done.

(That’s the short version. Really, it was a rant. I can’t recall all the details, but it was epic).

My daughter looked shocked.

Then, almost in harmony, her and my other daughter (who was less than a year old) began to cry.

To make matters worse, as I approached her to apologize for yelling, she cowered into a corner of the room.

My daughter was scared of me.

I thought I was going to vomit.

My gut twisted and flipped as my brain processed what I had done.

This beautiful little girl, the light of my life, was terrified of her mommy.

How had I let things come to this?

This wasn’t the first time I had yelled at my daughter either. Yelling had become a shameful habit.

My years of schooling and experience in Early Childhood classrooms gave me all the tools I needed to guide children’s behaviour gently. Yet somehow, yelling came into the picture.

I knew in that moment that I didn’t want to yell ever again. It would require commitment and a change on my part but I needed to find better ways to guide my child’s behaviours.

If we were going to have a healthy relationship, I had to change.

I was fully aware that I could search the internet for solutions for “how to get my child to clean up her messes” but my heart knew her defiance wasn’t about the mess… it was a heart issue. 

Somewhere along the way, I stopped connecting and started commanding.

I felt ugly.

After some reflection and many, many tears, I decided to make a plan to change.

My parenting fail inspired me to change.

There were a few things I worked on. Some took longer than others and some I still battle with, but I made a plan to become a better mom.

Here are a few of the things I did.

1- I wrote out my first ever parenting vision.

I decided that I couldn’t be the parent I wanted to be if I hadn’t fully thought out exactly what that looked like. I spent some time developing a detailed parenting vision.

2- I made a plan to connect more with my children.

This meant coming up with a schedule of activities to do with my children. I even planned some mommy/daughter dates.

3- I made a commitment to stop yelling.

I have no idea why this was so hard to do, but I had to challenge myself to stop yelling (and it was tough). Since then, I’ve lost my cool occasionally, but I’ve made HUGE progress in this area.

4- I educated myself.

I read books and I sought out websites. It became my mission to educate myself on positive parenting and I equipped myself with the tools I needed in order to become the mom I wanted to be.

Let me tell you… there are plenty of resources out there to help moms on their parenting journey. 

But first, I want to remind you that it’s not too late.

Whether your parenting style has relied on yelling and punishment, or you know the basics of positive parenting but want to deepen your connection; learning new skills and finding new resources will only help you in moving forward. Resources such as the Becoming a Deliberate Mom Workbook is a fabulous starting point. 

It’s never too late to make a change. Whether your child is a toddler, a preschooler, a tween, or teen… you can change how you parent your child.

This is your fresh start.

Making a change in your parenting strategy is never a quick fix. Positive parenting takes time, commitment, and patience. However, the effort is worth the long-term benefits. You’ll be calmer and your children will listen better.

It’s never too late to begin your positive parenting journey. Be the parent you know you can be.



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Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool and creator of The Deliberate Mom. Jennifer writes about parenting, homeschooling, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care.

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