I am pretty sure I’m a good mom. Most of the time.
I am equally sure I make some pretty poor mom decisions some of the time.
I’ve been known to go back on my promises, give in to tiny terrorist demands, provide too many sweet treats, allow “one more show” or “5 more minutes” multiple times in the same
hour day, use a louder than my “indoor voice”, threaten consequences that I never intend to enforce, and eat the last of the ice cream and blame it on Pi.
I might not be so strict on the “you must wear clothes” rule as I should be with my 4 year old. I don’t tell her calling me “boo-boo butt” is not necessarily okay (because I’m busy laughing) and I might sometimes laugh instead of being empathetic to her 4 year old tantrums.
And you know, that’s okay. Being a parent means making rules and EXCEPTIONS to those rules. Knowing when to be flexible because you can’t for the life of you handle hearing “just ONE MORE show!” one more time and allowing for silliness, even if it is just this side of inappropriate, because it is so damn funny.
But there ARE things, that as a parent, that we feel are not okay for us to let slide. We are responsible for making sure we don’t ruin our kids and that means putting in place non-flexible rules that don’t come with exceptions. EVER. We don’t tolerate the following:
1. Being Mean. There is nothing okay about being mean to someone else. Being mean to someone else hurts their feelings, makes them sad, chips away at self esteem. And being mean to others also means your child would be a bully. If I EVER caught wind of my child bullying someone there would be a whole lot of consequences. The best way to NOT raise a bully? Don’t be one. Kids learn by our example and talking smack about people give them the impression it’s okay. It’s not. In front of them anyways. Keep your smack talking to yourself until they are older and you can hang out with them at the bar and drink wine.
2. Hurting Others. Physical hitting of any kind gets a quick march to the time out step in our house. Not tolerated. Not ever. I’ve never hit my kids- not a spank, not a smack. It’s never even crossed my mind. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a household where hitting was absolutely not tolerated. My brother and I rarely got into fights and I cannot recall a time where we exchanged blows. I am sure it happened early on, but I can tell you it was nipped in the bud. I know people say “I want my kid to stick up for themselves” and of course if they are ever in a situation where their safety is at risk, that is a different story. BUT FOR THE MOST PART fighting and hitting doesn’t solve anything other than someone gets hurt. And then they are taught that hitting will solve problems. And I don’t want that. Sweets likes to see how far she can push the No Hitting rule and will “not hit” us and then say “I am just patting you!”. But we march her to the step because I’m not bending that line.
3. Saying Hurtful Things. Right now Sweets is just learning that saying certain things can hurt someone’s feelings and it will take a couple times of her actually hurting a good friends feelings and seeing their reaction for it to sink in that saying hurtful things doesn’t feel good. Those are things you need to learn through experience. But name calling- not tolerated. Sweets certainly knows that she is not allowed to call anyone “stupid” or “dumb”. We are teaching her that you don’t make fun of others because of how they look or how they sound. Those experiences are especially fun out in the community….you see it coming, the person that is different looking due to a disability and you KNOW they are going to say something and you try to switch tracks so your paths don’t cross, but they do. “Mommy, why is that man’s head so little?”, “Mommy, why is that little man in that chair?”. Or course that’s not making fun of them, but it is the time to teach them that talking about others isn’t polite. Given that I work with kids with disabilities, it is very important to me that my children learn that all kids are kids first, no matter what they may look like, how different they may act, if they can’t walk or talk.
4. Being Inconsiderate. I’ve always been taught that you should treat everyone- from the CEO of a company to the janitor that keeps it clean- the same. Say “thank you” when someone does something nice for you; say “excuse me” when you need to get by someone and “oh, I’m sorry” if you bump into them. Say “good morning!” to everyone. Hold doors for people with their hands full, with kids or for those that are older than you. Give up your seat to women with children, persons with disabilities, and those that just look like they really need to sit down. Throw your trash in the trash can, not on the street corner, in the gutter, out the car window or in someone’s front garden. Don’t interrupt people, don’t expect favors but accept them graciously, do unto others and pay if forward. Never tell “your elders” or anyone else, for that matter, to “shut up”. NEVER curse at your parents. If the “F” word is ever directed my way by my child, it may be the last word they say before they are locked up in their room with all forms of social media removed.
Being Nice Matters.
Why is this on my mind?
Because recently I’ve heard about too many incidents of kids acting not just poorly, but in some cases criminally. The kids who bullied the bus aide? Despicable. The kids that broke into the NFL football players house, caused $20,000 worth of damage and bragged about it all over social media? Disgusting. Even worse? When the NFL player tried to give them an opportunity to make amends, not only did they not accept responsibility, the parents threatened to sue him.
I don’t want to raise a jerk that thinks it is fun to run around and be disrespectful to others, their families and themselves.
Being Nice Matters.
And being a parent means you can’t be your child’s friend. You can’t be friends with someone who you tell what time to go to bed, what time to be home at night, and ground for breaking rules. Once you are done raising them, they are out on their own and responsible for themselves and can sit down with you over a beer or a glass of wine- THEN you are on even playing ground and can be friends. And blame the smack talking on the wine….
Have a great crazy day!