Thursday, January 13, 2011
Something I've Noticed
I saw a 3 year old yell at his mother, "SHUT UP". Mom's response, "Your dad will be home soon and I'll tell him how you've behaved. You don't want that do you?" To which he screamed "NO!!" but not in a fearful way, in a you-better-not way. I saw the same boy hit his mom with a toy bat and run away laughing. I saw him throw things, jump on the couch, scream and yell whenever he felt like it, endanger his younger sister because he was completely out of control. And his mom just shook her head saying "I just can't do anything with him" and continue to eat her dinner.
Call me old fashioned, antiquated, whatever...but I've noticed something. It seems that many parents today are afraid of discipline. Narcissists who are too self-involved or who are afraid that the boundaries they would put up for their children might damage their self-esteem, their sense of self-worth, their aura...
It won't. I promise.
Kids were never meant to raise themselves. They are brought into this world with parents, people that love them like no other and who have, hopefully, lived longer and grown wiser than their 3 year old.
Kids feel safe in boundaries. As they live within them, they have peace and gain the right to be trusted when the boundaries increase. Growing up with a safety net is what a parent is supposed to provide. There are no such things as healthy, free-range children. Fences are good. As your child grows and matures, so does his "range".
One day, the gate will open, the world ahead will open and your child will navigate it well. Self-assured, valued, loved and confident that his tool belt is full of the tools necessary to be a successful adult.
At that point, you can let go. But not until, you've got a job to do.
And it is a job. It requires commitment, structure and a willingness to sacrifice for the good of your child. If it's nap time, don't drag your kid shopping. If it's dinnertime, feed them. If you don't know what time it is, make a schedule and stick to it. Put their needs ahead of yours but not all their wants. Not everything is instant or immediate. Nor should it be. Is it for you?
We live in a narcissistic society, but that is not a kid-friendly place. Raising kids is like almost everything else, you get out of it what you put into it.
If you have questions, watch Super Nanny. Or ask a parent of older children you admire or a mentor. Help is out there, please ask!
(I have great compassion for parents who have done their absolute best and still have children who make difficult, painful choices. My heart breaks for you. Please read no condemnation in this post, that is not the intent. My intent is to challenge, encourage, and simply share my observations and advice.)