If we teach our children to reason with one another through rational thought and discussion instead of fists and harsh words we are providing them with valuable skills to help them to survive.
Raising our three boys ages 4, 7 & 9, has given me a completely different perspective on the perplexities of life. I was born the youngest of three girls and boys have always been my distraction and my muse. Can this be the explanation as to why I ended up with three boys of my own? I admit that I appreciate the quirky jokes that life plays on me but this one seems somehow…illogical. Yes, I am sporty, young at heart and very playful but I sometimes wonder if I have the proper constitution to watch as they live their lives to the ultimate degree.
Accepting that boys love to hurl themselves off of great heights is not an easy task for any mother. I try my best to instill life’s learned lessons into their heads in order to keep them alive. The boys are excited to join the Freestyle team next year and I can’t help but wonder how I will ever be able to be proud of them as they catch air on the enormous jumps, some which are built for the X-Games. It is a mental challenge to allow them to just be boys. I have had to learn from Baddy to not be a helicopter parent but my nerves are not as calm as they use to be. It is a fear of his that he will come home one day and find a note stating that I have flown off like the irresponsible Mayze in Horton Hatches the Egg, never to return.
Just the other day Thumper and I sat on his bed, his beautiful, velvety green eyes filling with tears. Feisty-One hates me, he said all depressed. I couldnt express to him how my life long goal is to raise safe, happy, healthy, intelligent, caring children who will always love each other and protect each other from harm. Every tear that dropped made my heart ache. Instead, I became the voice of reason explaining to him why his younger brother was retaliating and teaching him how to prevent further upsets.
Would that I could always take each child to a private place to discuss their troubles and help them to better understand lifes dilemmas but I have learned that letting children resolve their conflicts without interference by a parent is an important aspect of parenting. It is all about letting go while still being there. If they are not trying to destroy each other physically and there is no blood being shed, than I try to stay out of it.
Life is unpredictable and time and patience are not always on our side. It is impossible to stay? consistent in a house filled with flatulent, hip hopping, highly energetic boys. Occasionally music is the tool I use to lure them away from fighting with each other. Maybe this is why my boys are so in to music and dancing.
The children have accepted that their parents are not always equipped with sound reasoning and I know that they appreciate the times where they are able to escape the sit down chat. I certainly cannot reply upon Baddy in the morning. He is catatonic and not capable of thinking logically until his full pot of coffee has triggered his brain to function. In return, he does not look to me for assistance when I am hormonally challenged or when the clock hits 5:00pm, on any given evening.
The time out theory never has worked for us but I have experienced deep moments of regret when observing friends who have clearly mastered this practice. A few Saturdays back, we went with our friends to a candy store after skiing. One of the teenagers became self-appointed mayor of the candy line and created a bartering system that ended up in total chaos. His mother sternly told him to take a time out. He looked at her and pleaded silently for her not to do this to him in public. In complete disbelief I watched him as he slouched his head between his shoulders and shuffled off to some dark, secret place to reflect upon his wrongdoing. I realized that I had misjudged this alien theory but recognized that my window to train my kids with this useful tool was now firmly shut.
Usually our method of communication works wonders on our children completely changing aggressive behavior. But sometimes Baddy and I are at our wits end and feel completely defeated. As in the time when I picked the boys up from school and took them up to Aspen for an afternoon of scootering and ice cream. That evening the boys were more zany than usual, a tough feat. Time Out, I yelled. They stopped what they were doing and looked at me with large innocent eyes inquiring as to where the football game was playing. Go to your rooms, the whole lot of you, I demanded. They continued on their tirade in total defiance.
Nothing we could do or say could stop our Tasmanian devils from launching off of every piece of furniture and landing on top of each other in hysterical fits of giggles. As Baddy picked them up by their ears I swore to him that I would never again give the children ice cream after 4:00pm. We shouted out threats and warned them that if they did not stop terrorizing each other Baddy would personally go out and make it so they would never see the ice cream man again.
As parents, we all battle with the issue of time. More often than not we are giving our children the short end of the stick by shouting out demands to shape up or ship out. Unfortunately, we are not super heroes and can only do our best in any given situation. Baddy loves to use Dr. Evils zip it method where every time they open their mouths to say something he interrupts saying, shhhuuut or zipppppt until they forget what they were whining about.
As they grow up, the boys are learning how to get what they want by applying our logic. Their ability to manipulate and provide stronger evidence to support their issue at hand gets more and more impressive.
We cannot always be the voice of reason or bring humor into the equation but one thing is for certain, if we teach our children to reason with one another through rational thought and discussion instead of fists and harsh words we are providing them with valuable skills to help them to survive.