I really like my kids.
I say that because I’ve been having this debate with my sister about “the one your parents wished on you.”
I’m sure, everyone has experienced first hand or heard the stories about parents who said something like: “I hope you have a child just like you when you grow up. Then you’ll know what I have to deal with...”
Blah, blah, blah... (Sorry Mom.)
My Mom said it to me, and there were a couple times when my girls were young that I thought - “Oh, this one is the one my Mom wished on me, or No, maybe it’s this one.”
When I really sit down and think about it though... It’s neither one of them.
My girls are both really good kids. They are their own unique selves. They are both very well behaved. They both make good choices. They both have great friends and peer groups.
When I think about myself as a kid, I honestly have a very difficult time finding anything about them that is “just like me.”
My sister posits that perhaps I’ve escaped the curse of “the one just like me.”
I have a different theory In fact, I have a secret.
You know I’m going to share it with you. Ready?
I have gone out of my way to make sure my kids are not like me.
It’s no secret that I think being a kid, being a teenager, heck growing up in general is one of the hardest thing that any of us has to do.
So I’ve tried to make it easier for my kids.
Oh they don’t lack for discipline. In fact, if you ask both girls they will tell you that there have been times in their lives when they were just flat out afraid of what I might do when they got in trouble. I’m not sure why. I think I’d have to try hard to find five spankings between them and I don’t know that either of them has ever been grounded or lost a privilege for longer that it took me to explain to them why they might lose that privilege. Still they have both told me there were times when they were afraid.
That’s good. Fear works for parenting.
But you can’t have fear alone.
You have to have trust, and most of all you have to have honesty. You also have to know when to give, pick and choose your battles as they say. Finally, sometimes you just have to let it go.
So what does that all mean?
I’ve told my kids from day one that when they were born they did not come with an instruction manual. No book came flying out of their mother that told me “how to raise them,” and sometimes I was, well I was just going to screw it up.
It’s inevitable. No parent gets everything right all of the time. But I also told my kids that I would be the first one to tell them I was wrong and I would do everything I could to fix things to make them right.
I only asked one thing in return.
Be honest with me. Don’t hold back information. Don’t twist the facts. Just tell me like it is, and we’ll figure it out.
… and we have.
Now my girls aren’t perfect. They’ve pulled their fair share of stunts. They’ve caused trouble. They’ve taken me to points where I wanted to pull my hair out.
But we’ve always made it right, and sometimes we just let it go.
What? Let it go?
Sure, why not?
I’m sure every parent reaches a point with their children where they just have no idea why? What thought process could possibly be behind that child’s decision? How on earth? What the... (Hey buddy, this is a family blog.)
But you just want an answer?
I’ll give you an example. Right now, my youngest daughter has taken to spending entire weekends at friend’s houses, and sometimes those friends spend entire weekends at our house.
I mean like literally, they pretty much live there weekends. I don’t get it. Don’t they want to go home at some point? Don’t they need to have their space, their stuff?
But then I think: “Wait a minute, I have friends I’d like to spend the whole weekend with too. In fact, except for the fact that we don’t have sleepovers sometimes we do spend the whole weekend with the same friends.”
So what’s the big deal?
Of course there is no big deal. There’s not really an issue at all. So why get all worked up about it? Why not just let it go? Let.It.Go. Just let your kids be kids. They are not hurting anything, and heck sometimes when they stay at our house they make me cookies. So you know... Score!
It seems to me that sometimes so much of parenting is just a series of arbitrary decisions, choices we make for no other reason than “because they are there.”
I don’t get that.
Who knows, maybe I’m lucky. Maybe I did escape the curse.
Or maybe I made a choice.
I think every parent who wants to can make the same choice, and I wish them all the best of luck.
I love you K and D. Thanks for being good kids.
17 hours ago