For the past few years my daughter has dealt with an older girl who has a distinct aversion to kindness. You’d think they would get along, since my daughter has a mean streak of her own, but I think the age difference has a lot to do with efficacy of her intimidation.
Well, one day my daughter came home very upset. Said girl offered her a dollar for a piece of gum, but snatched the dollar back after the exchange. My daughter spoke up for herself, and she was offered the gum back. That would have been an awesome self-care win, and a major confidence boost, had the gum not already been chewed. The offer included the girl motioning as if she was going to spit out the gum in my daughter’s hand; Gross!
Now, I don’t take any story at face value. I trust my children, and always have their back, but I’ve pounced a time or two based on the emotional, yet slightly inaccurate, account of my child and it didn’t go well either of the several times. As I level up my adulting, I try to do at least A little digging, but in this case I really didn’t need to. I walked toward the girl for a little Q & A, but didn’t get within 4 feet before she curbed my questioning with guilty silence accompanied by the extension of a hand that just so happened to be holding a dollar.
Enthralling as this tale is, it’s not really the point of the story. The girl didn’t want any smoke. She knew she was wrong. She was trying to avoid any further altercation, so I let it go. That is, until she did it Again the very next day. I resisted the urge to focus on my daughter, confused as to how she fell for it a second time, and decided it was time to tell the girl’s mother. It didn’t go well, but it could have gone worse. I realized that resolve was unlikely, because Mom had A hard time believing that her darling, Sansa Mae, would ever do such a thing. (insert eye roll)
Mamas, will you please watch your kids?
I’m not one to tell anyone how to mama. There’s many a way to raise a tadpole into his frog legs, and I try to stay in my lane; sans judgement. You can feel the “But” coming, right? No matter what methods you use, though, Please check your blind spot! On at least 2 or 3 occasions, every couple years or so, watch your child when they’re 100% certain that you’re not.
Sure, your kid is sweet, caring, and thoughtful. But, your kid may also be a mean, self-centered, Bully; blended with a myriad of other personality traits she’s trying on.
Women are natural born detectives. We can zero in, CIA style, on any piece of information we seek. So, why do so many of us mamas ignore the butthole in our kids? When my kids are buttholes, I think it’s a beautiful thing. Not their butthole behavior, but the fact that I’m not wearing rose colored glasses when they roll it out.
It’s not the first time I’ve confronted a parent only to find that their child has them completely snowed. Call me Negative Nancy, but I’m well aware of some of the questionable things my kids do. Why? Because I watch them. Invading privacy is a “to each his own” kind of matter. Personally, I don’t root through rooms and journals, without just cause anyway, but I don’t consider a little anonymous surveillance a violation. Even if it is, can’t say I care on this one. We are not their only influence, and Our kids are not always who we think they are; or who we’ve raised them to be.
I’ve been confronted about my kids, and I’ve had to calculate whether or not the Accusation fits the child. I’m not gonna immediately take an adult’s word over my kid’s, but I’m at least going to do my due diligence before I dismiss the charges. Some things I’m told, I don’t even have to question. It sounds just like my kid. There are other times, though, when I have to Investigate a bit. I try to remind myself that my kids are growing into their personalities and values, and They’re gonna make some poor choices along the way. I can’t objectively search for answers if I’m convinced that my child is never short their halo.
From the minute they’re born, we weave our kids into our egos and identities. Valid or not, we feel like their behavior is a direct reflection on us. To a degree it is. I completely get how hard it might be to take an objective view. A large number of people are unable to be honest with themselves, and children can be an extension of that denial. Maybe there’s a bit of Self-work that needs to happen beforehand, but watching them is so important. You may find yourself beaming with pride as you watch your child display all that you have instilled. I would bet my last piece of chocolate, though, That you will be surprised by at least one thing you hear or see.
It’s not about gathering ammo for an ambush. It’s about Awareness. Unless it’s extreme, I usually Don’t address anything I witness during my sneak peaks. As much as possible, I let my kids learn through their experiences. It gives them a chance to either Correct themselves, or it allows for a little social education when their peers point out that something isn’t cool. I usually file the information away under “maybe I’ll have to deal with this later”, but I definitely consider it a Parental advantage to be aware of how are kids carry themselves outside of our presence.
I am Not encouraging you to focus on the negative traits of your children. I’m asking you Not to ignore them. Pretending like they don’t exist serves neither you, nor your child. I’m also not saying, don’t defend your children. Integrity is not always abundant in our society, and I have definitely seen children, as well an adult or two, lie on another child. Definitely take a minute to consider who the information is coming from, but please don’t discount all reports. Especially if you’ve never spied on your kid!