Sunday, January 19, 2014

One of my Worst Parenting Days: Making Mountains

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Isn't she adorable!
I remember a hideous day from years ago when Elizabeth was just a few years old. It was while we were potty-training (Oh geez, she is going to hate it that I posted anything about this time!) and I was just beside myself with wondering what to do. I had no idea what I was doing and I was concerned that I was totally messing things up. She was about four years old, maybe. I know that I had a newborn at the time and he was born when she was three and a half. 

She just didn't want to stop wearing a diaper. And when I asked her why she told me very simply and practically that she didn't want to stop playing to go potty. It seems like such a small deal now but then I was just a mess about it for some reason.

I have to admit that I owe some of my anxiety from this time to a woman that I was hanging out with, Beth. She and I had known each other a bit before having children and our daughters were the same age. I often talked with Beth about what I might do to encourage my daughter to...you know...

WHY I asked Beth for guidance I have no idea. She is one of the most truly neurotic people that I have ever had as a friend. She was a mess.
I wish I hadn't listened to her.

Her advice to me was that, each time Elizabeth would not go potty in the potty, she was to get a bath because it was dirty to go potty in her pants. UGH, I cringe just thinking about it.

Well, I only did it one time. There she was, my very beloved daughter, standing in the cold bathtub and I was shaming her with my words for not sitting on the potty; she cried.
She doesn't remember it at all while I can't forget it!

While I have forgiven myself for what I did, what I still struggle with sometimes is making a mountain out of a mole hill. What things that we are struggling with today will become the obvious mole hills of tomorrow? That's what I want to know.

I realize now that another other thing that contributed to my behavior then was that I was concerned how my daughter's diaper usage somehow reflected on me. I wanted to be a Good Mom and I didn't think that a Good Mom would have a daughter that age still in diapers. So, yes, I did have alot to learn.
 
Today I know that a Good Mom does not need to explain herself to friends around her, doesn't compare her children with any others, and most importantly, a Good Mom is comfortable with her children as they are, not as someone thinks they should be. She also finds friends who share in her way of thinking rather than wallowing in self-doubt and confusion.

It was a tough lesson. But I think I learned it.
And it didn't hurt to break up with that shaming friend of mine!!!

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CHILD ISN'T ON TIME
 So let's say that your children aren't on time with tasks and skills. Unless a professional tells you different, here is what you need to do:  RELAX.  Few teenagers walk around wearing diapers. Few teenagers still suck their thumbs. Most teenagers can walk, read, talk to people, eat their veggies, tie their shoes, say their Rs right, kick a ball, and all of the many things that you, that WE, worry about.
RELAX. It isn't a race.
RELAX. The only thing that truly reflects on you is your happy child, sitting or standing, pierced or not, speaking in public or not, listening to inappropriate music or not, wearing inappropriate clothing or not, getting great grades or not, sexually active or not, giving into peer pressure or not, making immature choices or not.
All you can do is give them the tools to build their own mountains and, in the end, they usually do that:  build their own unique mountains.


I know you get it that this post does not speak to serious or dangerous practices.

 I didn't have any Little Elizabeth electronic pics available to me now.
All of these are ages 7-9 years.
AND she has grudgingly approved this post.

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If you enjoyed this post you might also read: 
Can I Rebel Now?
Or you might enjoy:  Did it Right Today
Or this one:  Seasons of Homeschooling

2 comments:

  1. I believe in "in their own time". Sure, if there are areas of concern that a specialist can help with ten by all means get it checked out. But we went to so many specialists for certain things and they were all pushing my children to do things when I knew my children would do things in their own time, when their brains made the connections in an unpressured manner. Is it any surprise my son would get oppositional with the OT who kept pushing him to do this-and-that but the week I said enough is enough and withdrew him, he was much calmer and able to do the stuff easily?

    One example is that my son couldn't jump with both feet when he was a toddler and a little older. And one OT was all "he should be doing that by now, we need to work on his coordination" etc. And I said "is jumping with both feet really going to advance him in some way? Or just check of a box?" Eventually he worked out on his own how to jump with both feet but to say that he 'should' have done it earlier was just ridiculous. Was his life affected negatively by not being able to jump with two feet? Is he suffering now, as a nine year old, because he couldn't jump with two feet when he was 'supposed' to? Of course not! So this kind of "the child SHOULD be doing this by now" thinking bothers me, when it could well just be a case of the child needing some more time!

    With my daughter, she has a speech issue and that is something we see a speech pathologist for, as I don't think the "in her own time" applies there and she definitely needs the speech work we do. But for other things, people can get really ridiculous. A friend of mine took her son for his two year old check up with the child health nurse. The nurse 'tested' the boy by putting out a tea set and asked him to make some tea. The family were not hot beverage drinkers and the child never saw them make a pot of tea (in my house, the kids see me using teabags more than a pot!). According to the nurse, the boy was delayed! This is such a ridiculous example but boy have I heard stuff like this happening soooo many times!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you get it.
      What would have been MORE helpful, giving me confidence, support, and encouraging me to just give it time and worry less.

      But that chick, my old friend, has lots of issues with anxiety and whatnot...

      Lucky for me I figured out those things that you know! Things went waaay easier for my SECOND child....
      *wink*

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