I think I’m supposed to write this in all bullet points so I don’t lose you.
I’m also supposed to use a really catchy title like “The 5 Things You Need To Know About . . . ”
But I’m not going to because I want to talk to you like you’re my friend and we’re having coffee (or tea) together.
I’ve been paying attention to how people parent. This is in a totally non-creepy way- ha! I’m curious about what is working and what isn’t working. I’ll start with the disclaimer that I don’t blame parents for their kid’s poor behavior because each kid has the free will to make their own choices about how they behave. You can be a perfect parent and your child might still make some terrible decisions.
I have seen some common threads in families where kids are thriving (or struggling).
There is something magical about intentional engagement.
I don’t think it’s just any kind of engagement either. It’s not the kid-centered time with mom or dad that cause our children to thrive. Although that has value, too. It seems like time with mom and dad while learning to work hard and serve others does something special.
It means I have some work to do.
What if our kids knew their parents were absolutely there for them and that the world wasn’t just about them?
I think our kids are struggling because we’re tired and it’s hard to stay in the game.
Our sweet children know how to exploit our tiredness. I heard a 5th grader (not mine) explain to me how he takes advantage of his tired mom. Yes, I did FOR SURE tell her 🙂 I think our kids know that we don’t want to enforce things and that we don’t want to get up off the couch when we’re tired. They are opportunists!
Last week, Ethan told me his great plan of using a laptop to do some programming in his room before he fell asleep for the night. Without thinking, I agreed. All I really heard was “programming” and I thought that would be a great thing to do.
He told Nathan, later, that I had approved this request.
Nathan asked me if I was out of my mind. He didn’t use those words. Apparently, I just told my kid to take a laptop we just got, that we had not had a chance to put any restrictions on, to his room to use with no supervision.
It doesn’t matter that he probably was planning to stay up until midnight actually writing code. Furthermore, even if we had all the filters in place on the laptop, it was time to go to sleep.
This is what happens when parents get tired.
What do you think, friend? How do we stay engaged and keep our little opportunists from wearing us down?