Happy Hump Day folks! Hope everyone had a relaxing weekend. Not sure I can claim that, but at least I felt very productive. Think I haven’t slowed down yet, and definitely feeling the effects of that. So glad it’s not too much longer to the next weekend.
Promise to try and wrap this up series soon, people! Geez! I thought I would be sharing a simple incident based on a conversation with friends. As in my previous series related to parenting (Discipline Vs. Control), one post took on a life and direction of its own. (Wish some of my characters would do the same! :()
Today’s thought: doing what I had to do as a parent without worrying about what someone else might think of my choices.
Some background points to help set the tone:
1. A kid has to know a parent means business.
2. A parent who means business doesn’t necessarily have to force the issue, nor does that parent have to be mean or angry to show s/he is serious about what s/he is expecting from a child.
3. Bullying takes on many forms. We who are trying to ‘teach our children to do the right thing’ by ‘making’ them do what we say might have to watch going over a fine line. (Trust me, I’ve gone over it TOO many times. Younger kids—and those older ones who just love pushing buttons will tip you over that line themselves.)
4. And unless what a parent is doing is abusive, emotionally and/or physically, a parent should just toss what others think out the nearest window. (Just sayin’.)
Case in point: When Older Son was five years old and in preschool, he tended to dawdle when it came time to get dressed. Being the model parent I was, I remember doing my fair share of yelling one morning. I needed to get Younger Son to nursery school, Older Son to school and me to work. (Luckily, I worked in the same building where Older Son attended preschool.)
The next day, I kept him home. He wasn’t feeling well.
Day after that, he was well enough to return to school. He so took his time not getting ready. I decided I would not shout or make a scene.
Time came to leave the house. Older Son was pretty much taken aback when I handed him his shoes. I very calmly told him we had to go. When he said something about not being dressed, I told him we had no time. He’d used his time playing rather than getting ready. (Not sure how he got his shoes over his footie PJs, but he did. And I’m lucky. He was never much of a tantrum-throwing child. Now that Younger Son kid…let’s not go there.)
So we dropped off Younger Son, which mean Older Son had to walk into the nursery school in his PJs. When he mentioned something about PJ’s and school, I reiterated that he hadn’t gotten dressed when he had the time.
Once we got to school, I took him to the nurse. Told my boy the nurse needed to see him since he’d been sick the day prior. (Yes, I fibbed. Judge me if you please, but there was a much greater cause at stake.)
In the nurse’s office, I handed Dawdle Boy a set of clothing I’d bagged on the sly. I told him any future episodes would not come with a back-up outfit. He’d be in PJs for the day.
I kid you not, friends. From that day forward, I have never, ever had a problem with that boy not being dressed for school. Chances are, I brought his clothes partly b/c I might have felt embarrassed having him show in pajamas, and I certainly didn’t want him to feel that way, so I came up with a compromise. Luckily, it worked.
I’m fairly friendly with a dad whose four-year old daughter was giving him a run for his money. On many occasions, this 6’4″ European-born man whose daughter reached just past his knee would have him complaining about how she wouldn’t get dressed; at school we’d see that manifested in how late he’d bring her in every day. (Mind you, there are other family circumstances that impact her behavior to this day, I’m sure. Our conversations, however, showed me he wasn’t willing to stand up to her behavior.)
One day last school year, I shared Older Son’s PJ story. The man’s jaw dropped. He seemed horror-struck.
That dad was most likely worried about what someone else would think if his daughter showed in PJs.
Did I abuse my son in any way? He was warm and covered appropriately for the season. I didn’t yell or force him to do anything.
I did, however, show him I meant business.
And that’s where we’ll pick up next time. Getting past myself when I impose a limit, or consequence. Sometimes that’s way harder than dealing with what others think.
So how have you dealt with some of the stuff your cherubs–no matter the age–dish out? What was the result and how effective did you find how you handled a particular situation in the longer run?
Thanks so much, readers, followers and friends. Have a great week! No stressing re: upcoming holidays allowed–somehow, it all gets done!