Kids are unpredictable. I have found that they become even more unpredictable when we, as parents, ask them to do things that are beyond their development or when our pride gets in the way and we expect them to behave differently just because someone else is present.
I was confronted with my pride the other day when my kid was not "acting" like he was "supposed" to in front of others. We had a rather large party over at our house which included adults and kids of all ages. I happened to see Carter interacting with a little boy and it appeared he wasn't being very nice. So I redirected him. Then Carter just plain starting acting out. And not only was he acting out, but he was acting out in front of people...new friends....in our home. Insert "pride". It wasn't long before I was dragging Carter to our bedroom to give him a little talking to. On my way to the bedroom I realized that Carter was just being a kid; an imperfect kid who needed redirection, but my blood was boiling because he wasn't acting perfect in front of new friends.
It made me stop and think of what kind of pressures am I putting on my kids because they don't "act" the way "I" want them to. Now, I am not talking about being disobedient or disrespectful. But just acting like kids who need to be trained.
How do you feel when your kid is mean to another kid, or doesn't share or in some other way "shows" him or herself and it is a bad reflection on you, as their parent?
It got me to thinking, is it really a bad reflection on me when my kid acts out or am I putting expectations on my kids and reacting to those expectations when it really doesn't matter.
Obviously, if your child isn't acting right it is an opportunity for us as parents to discipline our child, to train them. Which is what discipline actually stands for.
I recently asked some of my friends what the most unpredictable thing their kids have ever done in front of them and others. I got great responses.
Kids are unpredictable by nature and for the most part, I can handle it. Especially when you can find humor in it. Like some of my friends who were mortified by their young child saying, in a very loud voice when seeing a black person, " why is that person brown?". And by the way, Carrie....Carter asked the same thing just YESTERDAY while we had stopped for gas. It made me laugh because you had just given me that example! LOL! Or another friend who's daughter decided to cram a stuffed animal between her legs at a get together and say something very embarrassing to the crowd.
It didn't take me long to figure out that kids don't come out of the womb knowing what to do, they need training. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a four year old asking, "why is that person brown" or "is that person old". That is a kids natural curiosity. They do need to learn to ask those questions in private. They do need to be taught what discretion is and how to not be impulsive with every thought that comes into their mind. Those are questions that need to be explained and answered. But as mortified as we might be by some of our children's actions, well, they're just being kids.
I had another mom who responded in a way that I wish I responded more often. She said she knows her kids are unpredictable and to not expect anything less....that way, you are always prepared for the unpredictable! It was very good advice!
How prideful is it (and I'm talking to myself here) to want my kid to be the best behaved kid in town, especially in front of friends. For my kid to always make the right choices. To recite his ABC's and 123's on cue so that I can "show him off".
I was just really convicted the other day about MY behaviors. MY reactions. And MY responses to Carter's behaviors.
Something to chew on this week....