These kids get everything. They get TV time, video game time, coloring time, outside time, board game time, time to use their imaginations, time to read, time to play, you facilitate their every fun loving moment.
And yet they’re still right up your butt. Why?
When you were a kid, you would have killed for this life. At least I know I would have.
Seriously, one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in this parenting gig is trying to “fix” what my mom did wrong. Even though I was 26 when I fell pregnant, I had given no thought to parenthood or to growing up, and in many ways, I still identified as that kid who always had to work and never got the good cereal in the morning.
People will say, “don’t try to be your kids’ friend, they don’t need a friend.” But I never paid attention to that because it didn’t apply to me. I wasn’t trying to be their friend. Couldn’t care less about being their friend. Definitely wanted to be their mom. And in many ways I am strict with high expectations. What I didn’t see, is that in many ways, I am not.
And even more insidious…I wasn’t trying to be their friend. I was trying to be my friend. I was trying to be the friend of me as a kid.
Now, I don’t know if this is a common problem; it sounds pretty out there to me, but on the offchance anyone else was silly enough to do it, it…doesn’t work.
See, my subconscious thought had been, man, I was so awesome as a kid. Respectful (for the most part), responsible (for the most part), nice, well behaved, grateful. Imagine how muchawesomer I would have been if I’d been able to eat Coco Puffs every morning and didn’t have to spend my whole Saturday doing chores? I didn’t deserve that! I was amazing!
And since I was amazing (turns out in large part to chores and not eating pure chocolate at 7 in the morning…who knew), my kids are obviously inherently, genetically amazing, and they willappreciate these awesome perks I am bestowing to them, because I know what it’s like to be an awesome kid and be held back by the man/the mom.
Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.
I don’t know why I assumed awesomeness was inherent, or why I chose sugary cereals and no-cleaning to break from my mom’s system, but stayed with everything else. I can only say I really did think they were superfluous (in my subconscious) and that they weren’t part of the mechanisms that honed me.
ANYWAY, long story short, I’m weaning the amazing awesome cereals I deserved as a kid, and I’m making them do chores (which was met with shock and dismay, let me tell you. lol five year olds.)
And you know? Even though they gripe about it verbally, they actually like it better. It structures their day, they don’t have to deal with a huge sugar rush in the morning, they see the boundaries of expectations, and they know that life isn’t just about catering to their whims.
Which is something I’d kind of missed before.
Their behavior has been better with this in place. I’ll let you know how it continues.