Recently I received that dreaded call, no, not the one about lice (although we’ve had our share!), you know the one from another mom about your kid hurting their kid. Yup…that one! My thing 2. It wasn’t her first and probably wouldn’t be her last time. Of course, I was a little devastated, went through the stages of denial, anger, and finally acceptance. (Denial stage was very short) I told my husband, distressed and distraught, and he responded “good for her,” until he realized that’s the wrong answer.
So why am I writing about this in a public forum that’s read mostly by people I know? Why aren’t I hiding under a rock or changing schools? Mostly because I refuse to believe I’m the only mom that’s dealing with behavioral problems. Because I hope my friends (my true friends) would not judge me or my daughter based on this incident. Because I believe in having “a village of support,” whether it’s virtual or actual. We can not and should not be doing this alone. Our modern times have made it so that we move away from family and isolate ourselves in our own lives because of our busy schedules. But here’s the thing, I need you. I need you to tell me it’s ok and your kid has done something else that isn’t stellar. Because we’ve all been there. In some form or another, we have ALL had that moment that we wish we could hide and pretend that thing that happened never happened. But it did and it will probably happen again.
So, the big question….what did we do? Or more importantly what didn’t we do….? Well, we didn’t ground her for life. We didn’t take away every fun toy she owned, we didn’t take away all privileges for the foreseeable future. We just didn’t see the point in all that. The “punishment” just wouldn’t have fit the “crime!” My thing 2 is a free spirit. She is bold and strong willed. She is fiercely independent and will try endlessly to do it her way. (Don’t ever try to help her without asking!) Are these amazing qualities…YES!!!! Do they sometimes (a lot of times) drive me crazy…..yes! But I’m not going to change her nor do I want to! I love her free spirit and at times envy it. (I was and still am such a rule follower.)
We set up a consequence that fit the incident, we made sure she apologized. We talked with her about the possible appropriate ways she could have handled the situation. And then I hugged her tight and looked in her the eyes and said I know the warm, loving person that she is and I don’t want anyone else to ever think she wasn’t that person because of her actions. I don’t condone her actions but I made sure she knew that SHE was not those actions and that she needed to portray herself as the beautiful, caring, loving person that she really is.
We should support our children and we should support each other. There’s no shame in the mothering game. All of our children will at some point do something that is unacceptable and will make us cringe. But it also stems from all the wonderful attributes in them. We need to nurture these qualities and lead them on the path to use their skills for good and not evil!
- How do you deal with your children’s behavior? Do you share with your friends and hope for support? Do you usually get that support or advice or just glaring stares?
Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them. —Bill Ayers