When Your Kid’s Are Worth The Fallout
It says, “I don’t spend much time and emotional energy training my dogs. Why? Because honestly, I don’t care that much. I like them, but they’re dogs. I will spend endless time and emotional energy training my kids though, because I do care that much. They’re my kids!”
Now for those who are total animal-lovers, please don’t shoot me. I love our pets as much as the next person. But if I had to decide between my fur-babies and my children, of course I choose my children.
That said, our labradoodle, Queenie, is very loved and cherished, as I have spoken about here. She just doesn’t receive the same sort of attention as the children do. And here she is to show you how much a part of the family she is, basking in the sunshine at our family picnic!
The other day, my four children had been happily playing outside in the sunshine, bouncing on the trampoline. I was sewing at the kitchen table and noticed that three of them slinked into the room, whispering to each other, obviously sharing some sort of secret, shifty move.
I instantly became suspicious and asked them what they were up to?
The answer was predictably, “nothing!”
I also noticed that their sister, Olive, had been left outside and immediately smelt a very stinky rat. So I enquired as to why they had abandoned her?
Their answer was, “it’s just a joke and she won’t mind”.
Literally two seconds later, Olive, being the whirlwind that she is, flew inside crying and sobbed that her siblings had abandoned her and she had been waiting for them to return.
Herein lies the dilemma that all parents face. I had a choice to ignore their behaviour, putting it down to silly and childish games and preferring instead to smooth the situation over and give Olive a hug.
Or, I could butt heads with the children over it.
We all know that diligent parenting will bring conflict. It’s messy, inconvenient and time-consuming, and honestly, some days it’s so tempting to avoid it at all costs. Certainly there are some hills that are not worth dying on, but many are worth the battle, which deal with matters of the heart.
I love my children so much, that temporary uncomfortableness is worth these lessons of the heart.
And I want my children to know that I will engage with them, correct them and train them, when I am tired, and I will challenge their behaviour, when I truly don’t feel like it and would rather ignore their actions.
Because I am not their best friend, I am their mother and loving beyond measure is hard work. I know that giving into the small things, will only lead to bigger problems further down the track – and a lot more heartache.
Even though our incident appeared to be a small issue, I knew it was a key training moment.
In terms of being respectful to their sister who was left outside and truthful to me when I asked them what was going on. There were a few issues at play that really needed to be dealt with and nipped in the bud.
Teaching respect to small children leads to having respectful tweens, teens and adults. In our family, this is a total no-brainer. I not only want to have lovely offspring in my home, I want them to be lovely in your home too.
Basically, I love my children enough to bump heads with them.
And even though it’s so much easier to be the fun parent, the one who plays and laughs and doesn’t cause her children to feel upset or uncomfortable as a result of their actions, being that other parent takes effort.
Discipling is hard work and I would rather not do it, but daily I choose to be the parent who temporarily falls out with her children and set some rules.
According to Parenting.com “rules reassure kids, because no matter how often children act as if they want to be in control, having too much power is frightening. They intuitively know that they need an adult to be in charge, and they count on their parents to guide their behaviour”.
In other words, children who have firm boundaries feel more secure than those who don’t really know where the fence lies, how long that fence is and where the gate locks. It means that they are constantly testing the waters to see how far they can dip their toe in, which causes stress on their hearts and can be a nightmare for parents.
I promise my children that although there are so many times that I long to let things slide, I won’t. I just won’t.
Because I care too much for their hearts and their futures, not to tighten and maintain that fence daily. I love them beyond measure and can’t bear to think of them feeling insecure daily, dipping their toes in to see how deep that water is.