Being a parent is so much harder than I ever expected. You think you have mastered it with child number 1 only to find that child number 2 requires a completely different approach.
If you are lucky and I am, lots of people tell you that your children are ‘wonderful and a credit to you’ but what does that actually mean when you are staring at the mess they call bedrooms and when they are answering you back (shouting) in private! My children can behave like angels or like proverbial monsters. A few years ago that would have really worried me, I would have thought I was somehow failing. Now I am more relaxed about it and just grateful that they know how to behave in public! My self-worth is no longer tied into their behaviour (most of the time).
Recently child number 2 decided she wanted to scream and shout instead of unpacking the dishwasher, tidying her room and eating lunch nicely. I must admit at first I gave into the temptation to shout back before pulling myself back and asking the question, ‘Why is she behaving like this?’ I know my daughter loves me and wants to please me so overt disobedience is not usually a major problem. So I asked her, “What is really going on?”
Out came a long list of childhood dilemmas:
- Girl x has fallen out with me and is talking about me and I worry she will make my life hell at school
- Girl y doesn’t like the fact I now have a boyfriend and has said it is him or her!
- We are going to an amusement park with school soon and I worry that I will not go on any of the rides because of my fear of heights and it will be embarrassing
- We are having a talk on puberty and it scares me
- I am leaving primary school this year for high school and I don’t want to, I love my current school
When I heard all the things she had bottled up inside her 11-year-old self, my heart bled for her. It is such a difficult age and I think with girls in particular it can be such a tightrope walk maintaining wide friendship groups and special relationships. Best friends (BFFs) one minute, heart-broken the next. For a child everything seems so immediate, so large, so in your face. Children often struggle to see the big picture which is just normal and I need to make more allowance for that. As a parent it is too easy to dismiss my child’s experiences as trivial in the grand scheme of things when at 11 they can seem completely overwhelming. Thankfully, that day I managed to behave like an adult and step back to find out what was really going on and give her love, hugs and reassurance. Now if only I could manage that every day!
© Michelle Sherlock © Looking4GodToday.wordpress.com