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Friday, September 28, 2012

Reflective Parenting

It’s not him…it’s me…reflective parenting
A few years ago, someone provided me with their opinion about my parenting. From their vantage point, I clearly favored my daughter who is the oldest. The individual providing the advice felt that I didn’t give my youngest (my son) the same attention I gave his sister who was 14 months older. Most people would argue the case in the other direction. They would tell you that I baby my baby and have unrealistic expectations for my oldest. Regardless…
Two children, two different personalities, and yet I love each of them with 110% of my being.
That said – my son is very accustomed to getting his own way and he has my bad temper and short fuse. Today, I cut the bottom of his shirt off instead of arguing about the shirt being too long. It was then that I realized that it’s not him, it’s me. I give into him WAY more than I do with my daughter. It’s definitely not right and I will work on it. I’m all about root cause though – asking WHY – so…
Crystal – WHY do you give into your son?
Here’s the answer:
I’m tired. As much as I love having two children so close in age, I’m tired. I just went through whatever phase it is that he is going through. His sister just passed the same milestones he is entering into. I’ve already realized that arguing isn’t going to change the outcome, it is just going to change my outlook. It really doesn’t matter if his socks match or not…because I forced her to have matching socks and she isn’t any smarter or different than the children whose parents let them mix and match. I choose my battles with my youngest, and I don’t see so many things as being black and white. With him, I recognize the grey. With my oldest, it’s my first time around. Everything seems like a big deal. I remember thinking that if I sent her to the wrong pre-school she would be at a disadvantage and wouldn’t be able to fulfill her dream of going to Harvard. Now I know that it’s only pre-school and she likely doesn’t know what Harvard is – so I shouldn’t worry about things that may never come to pass.
Prime example – last year when my oldest was in pre-school, I was determined that she would have perfect attendance. I pushed her to go to school tired, sick, unenthusiastic, etc…and at the end of the year, no one noticed if she did or did not achieve perfect attendance. Here we are a year later and it’s my sons third week of pre-school and he’s missed four days. I kept him home for a runny nose. I kept him home on a day when I myself was too sick to get out of bed in time for the 8:15am start of class.
Someone told me once that over achievers are usually the first born – I wonder if it’s all the pressure we put on ourselves and that first little miracle? There’s something to be said for being an over achiever…but isn’t there something nice about being laid back and NOT creating stress in our lives?

For what it’s worth – these are my random thoughts for the day…and I know that I will be more mindful of my parenting. No sense making my daughter nuts with unrealistic expectations, and I should do a better job holding my son accountable. Sigh….but for now, I think I’ll have another cup of coffee and fold some laundry.

May your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, and moments of reflection.

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