Being Authentic with Kids

Son hugging his fatherA few years ago, I was in an eye exam for my son Noah. The doctor wanted to get drops in Noah’s eyes and he was frustrated that Noah did not want to sit still. So he commanded me to hold Noah down while he put the drops in. Noah was crying wildly. I was taken off guard by the doc’s order, so I did it. I held Noah down forcibly, against his will, while the doctor put the drops in.

Noah moved on pretty easily, thrilled to play with toys in the waiting room while his eyes dilated. But I felt terrible. I was sure I could have found a less violent way to help the doctor get the drops in. I had overpowered Noah physically and I felt I had betrayed him.

I was beating myself up. But then a friend reminded me that my job as a parent was not to model being perfect, but to model being human and compassionate and forgiving.

When we got home, I apologized to Noah and told him that I would never do that again, which I think is valuable. I don’t need to model getting everything right. That would be too neurotic. It’s OK to mess up. I just need to model taking responsibility, apologizing for my mistakes, and forgiving myself.

Headshot, Brian LeafBrian Leaf is author of the yoga memoir, Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi: My Humble Quest to Heal My Colitis, Calm My ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness. You can find him online at

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Peggy O'Mara

About Peggy O'Mara

Editor and Publisher of Longtime natural living advocate, award winning writer, and independent thinker.

One thought on “Being Authentic with Kids

  1. Lauren

    Thank you for this reminder. I beat myself up all the time for not being perfect for my son. I guess authenticity also allows for him not to have to be perfect and allowed to make mistakes as well.


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