Not to brag, but I disappoint my kids ALL the time. So how much am I really harming them? Am I, in fact, helping them? Will my kids be more resilient?
How many of you have heard time and again how resilient kids are? It really is supposed to be true. So then why the whining and crying about every little thing that doesn’t go their way? This is not something we plan on having continue in our household for the next couple of decades until they’ve all (maybe) moved out. Sure, the subject matter at the root of the complaining will change as they age. They also will
probably hopefully have learned to handle themselves better, and not act like a shitass because they think you’re making them that PB&J (they are the only person in the world,right?) and you should know it was just decided that they no longer like peanut butter. It’s a horrible situation, because my schmoopie that was just giving me wonderful hugs a minute ago is now wailing and stomping. It makes it hard to tell if it’s about the sandwich, or if they’re upset I just told them they have to move out of the house if they don’t like peanut butter – that’s just flippin ridiculous, and I don’t think I can ever look at them the same. But, minutes later, after we’ve both calmed down (I’m always amazed at how quickly I can unpack the hobo bag I just threw together for them), it’s like nothing ever happened. That’s where the resiliency comes in.
Building Foundational Scars
If you’ve gotten the idea so far from previous posts, like Our Family Suck-It Bucket or Teaching Empathy to Kids, about our parenting style in this house, a lot of what we concentrate on is setting them up to be decent human beings, who are contributors to society. We just go about it a little differently/psychotically (tomato/tomahtah) than others might. Here’s where the foundational scars come in. And it started with the concept of resiliency.
They can get over a toy that their brother took away, or a cookie that dropped on the floor, fairly quickly. I said they could. Not me. What a waste of cookie. But, by the next day, or even minute, they will have forgotten what happened. Resiliency is not how they deal with something, or how quickly they forget. It’s how they bounce back. So what about when it’s not about a toy, but about some little whore that broke my boy’s heart? What if their best friend all through elementary and middle school moves away, right before they could tackle high school together? What if they don’t get into the college they’ve been dreaming about? They must be prepared to handle these situations. So, here’s what we do.
My kids will be more resilient!?
We tell them “no”. Crazy, huh? That’s really a stretch for a lot of parents these days. But we say it. With gusto. We’ve been known to say no to toys. We’ve said no to playdates, outings, iPads, and more. With the holidays approaching, I’m considering getting a pin made that has “NO!” in big,red Impact font. It’ll save my voice because I’ll just point to it a thousand times a day. As all of our 4 kids are still in the center-of-the-universe age range, with each “no” we are still greeted with a defeated look, total disbelief, most of the time. Awww. And sometimes we even get the pouty lip. Foundational scars. Let them suffer the wounds of disappointment at home with the people they feel safest with. We’re building up scar tissue. This is Not to excuse, of course, any major emotional scarring that a parent might do that a child never, ever recovers from. I won’t give a pass on that guilt, or condone in any way. But, the smaller stuff is okay. They will have heard the word “no”, so it won’t come as a HUGE SHOCK the first time they don’t get the job they applied for, Being able to bounce back from these little things will leave them more equipped to handle the bigger things. Like the little slut breaking his heart. Don’t worry about that one, though, honey. Mommy’s got a plan to deal with that.
I’d love to hear your input on how you deal with some of these parenting situations, or if you don’t have kids, what you’ve witnessed from others. Maybe your parents were the most awesome, or the most hated, and you’d love to tell us! Oh, and if there’s a topic you’d like me to tackle soon, let me know!
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