Tuesday, December 9, 2014

This is What Happens When You are Raising Children

Well sometimes…

The other day I went to pick up the girls from school. We had had a busy week of activities with the normal clash of attitudes and personalities - mine included.

Whenever someone goes to timeout or gets on something other than green light - treats are lost. We were on a good streak of behavior and everyone had been getting their treats or even an extra one for being helpful or turning in homework or using good manners.

On this day R when to timeout for a pretty aggregous offense - pulling hair. She and one of her friends must have gotten into it over something and R wasn't happy. She's been in a kind of aggressive stage here when she and E fight/argue - and it is not tolerated. Timeouts. Lose of dessert/treat after dinner. Apologies with "I'm sorry, do you forgive me" and hugs to make amends. (Because around here we say "I'm sorry, do you forgive me")

Except at school I'm not there to officiate. We were fortunate to stumble across this preschool program and mother's morning out nearly five years ago so I trust and know that my kids are accountable for their actions there - maybe not exactly, but similarly as they are at home.

So R was sent to timeout after this tussle with her friend and I'm sure their was wailing and tears because she knows there will be consequences for her actions - even though she is just 2 months shy of 3. Children must be held accountable for what they do.

The bright spot in this is (there is a glimmer of hope) once her timeout was over R went up to her friend and told her she was sorry. {Whew, insert praises and maybe even tears of knowing that maybe, just maybe, stuff she is learning at home is sticking}. And probably that was it between them. I imagine they went back to playing (maybe not together) but everything was normal.

Well in strolls E once her class was over and somehow or another E finds out R will not be getting her treat today and R motions to E with a finger over her lips to not tell (probably me).

Yeah, like that will happen.

As this is being recounted to me when I pick up the crew, R knows she's in trouble and won't even look at me even though I'm holding her. She knows. She knows.

No treat box for her. She is sad but she knows why. We get out to the van and I ask her why she pulled her friend's hair and I get either silence or an 'I no-nooo" (I don't know). She finds a lollipop on the floor that was not put in the treat box from a few days ago and she picks it up and ask "I get desss-ert".  No I tell her, you don't get dessert when you hurt your friends. She screams. I mull over the situation.

Well we get home and in between lunch prep and talking to Lee and unloading bags, I send R's friend's mom a text to the tune of:

I am really sorry about what happened at school today. Please know we do not allow behavior like that at home and R will face consequences for her actions. Please DON"T HATE ME FOREVER accept my apologies.

Did I have to do this? No, of course not. But I kind of wanted to clear the air with this mom because children are a reflection of their parents, right? So when my kid pulls out another kid's hair that's a perfect reflection of Lee and I as parents?

Well no, of course not. Did I feel embarrassed about it? Yes, alittle. Does my child test the boundaries of acceptable behavior? Often. Do other kids at school do the same thing? Yes. We have been on both sides of story. In this case we were on the testing side of things. We have been on the receiving side of things too and you know when my child was the one hurt, it is nice to get a text or a Facebook message or a stop in the hallway and it go "I'm really sorry about what happened...." (not like this happens with any frequency but if you combine the time that the girls have spent at school it is probably going on 6-7 years so OCCASIONALLY serious offenses happen; most of the time it is little stuff not worth discussing)

Well between the lunchtime rush and putting kids to rest and the new phone which did not have my ringer transferred, I missed a call from the mom. She left me a voicemail and something she said struck me as so true:

"This is what happens when you are raising children"

YES. Yes it is. Our kids do crazy things at home and it is not nearly as big of a deal because no one knows about it if there is a squabble between siblings but stick them out in the real world and it changes. We are raising our children to be kind, polite, generous people but sometimes (just like their parents) they stumble. And sometimes they hurt others. It is just part of raising kids and it is how we parents react, redirect, and refocus our kids on the right thing to do that is what's important.

I finally got the nerve to call this mom because after that message I WANTED to talk to her. So we talked a bit more and all was well. But it is so reassuring to me that my kids are surrounded by kids whose parents are being challenged the same ways we are. These parents, like us, are holding their kids accountable for their actions. Yes, of course there is unconditional forgiveness, BUT there are varying levels of consequences for when bad decisions are made.

Whew... that was a heavy post in the making but I needed it. I need other moms to know that you may have the star student most days but on the days you have the hitter or the hair-puller it is going to be okay because us moms are all struggling with similar situation. 

It is hard being a mom; but I bet if you reach out to other moms you will find yourselves in the same boat.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank goodness for other moms who are reasonable and on the same page as you!