Thursday, July 14, 2011

For Adult Ears Only

Have I mentioned that my kids are different?  Yes, I believe so.  Well one thing I did not mention is that even though I openly discuss their differences in my blog, I do not talk about this in front of them.  At least I try not to.  It is hard to completely stop saying things like, "He is my sweet one," or, "He is my outgoing one."  I know it is hard and I definitely am guilty of slipping up, but we really need to be conscientious of what we say when our kiddos are listening.

You may be thinking, why can't I say it?  It is the truth.  Yes, it may be the truth, but what it infers is not true.  If I say that #1 is my athletic one then #2 interprets that as me saying #2 stinks at sports.  Is that what I said?  No, but that is what his heart heard.  

Life is hard and building a healthy self-esteem in a child is extremely difficult.  All day long, other people feed words into your children - some of it is positive and some of it is negative.  They absorb all of it like little sponges.  Home should be where they wring out these comments and sift through the relevance and truth.  You want them to come to you.  You want them to let you help them with this process, but for this to happen they have to feel safe with you.  They have to feel that you have not prejudged the situation. 

For example, let's say that #2 is thinking about trying out for the swim team, but he is unsure if he should.  He is thinking about talking to me about it but why should he?  He has heard me say several times that #1 is the athlete.  He may feel that I have already told him that he is not good enough in this area and decides to not try out and not talk to me about any of it.  Do I want this scenario to happen? No.  May it still happen?  Yes, but if I become aware of what I am saying in front of their little ears it is less likely to happen.

There are no guarantees in parenting.  I have seen parents who appear to have done everything right and they end up with a child who struggles.  I have seen parents act like total whack-a-doos and end up with the perfect human.  Is this fair?  No, but it is the truth.  It is also the truth that if you are purposeful in your parenting that statistics are on your side.

You may laugh but this is always a relief to me.  If my children make a bad choice after I have done everything in my power to train them to make the right decision I can sleep.  If they make a bad choice and I know I failed to prepare them for that situation I toss and turn with guilt.

So, the moral of this story is that we can all work on not labeling our children when they can hear us.  We will mess up, but we can choose to recognize when we do it and make a conscious effort to stop.  We may think we know what our children can do but they might just surprise us.  Who knows what all they can accomplish if they are not afraid to try because, no matter what, they know their parents at home are supporting them.  Who knows?  Your "shy one" may just end up being president of the senior class!

1 comment:

  1. I still remember this from the bible study we did way back when at the Edmond campus. I haven't forgotten it!