Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Bratty Kids: Tattling

There is no such thing as a tattle tale‘ claims Kristin at Preschool Daze. Part of me disagrees with her vehemently; another part of me recognizes the wisdom and concern in that statement.

Yesterday was our monthly Park Day with our homeschooling group. We had our first ‘group birthday’ party, with cheesecake and singing (even though we mistakenly overlooked a couple of our lovely December babes – much love to Puddles and MamaT), which was fun and the beginning of a fun tradition, I hope. The kids played well together for about the first 5 minutes, then the whole thing went to hell in a handbasket. I don’t know why; maybe it was the weather or the alignment of planets – maybe they just missed each other and didn’t know how to handle the intense joy they were feeling at seeing each other again after so long – whatever it was, they were driving each other, and the mamas, absolutely starkers.

It’s a challenge, knowing when to let them work it out between themselves and knowing when to intervene. Today was a perfect example of an environment where there was no clear-cut ‘wrong-doer’. Each child involved could have altered his or her behavior slightly to help alleviate the tension. It’s frustrating as a mom to know that and see that, to suggest it and then watch your child completely ignore your suggestions on how they can personally, positively affect a situation.

Kids will be kids. I try to respect that, and not to let that bug me overmuch, even when they seem to be deliberately pushing my buttons. One of the down sides to having children who are used to being ‘heard’ is that when they feel that an injustice, however slight, is being done to them or a friend, they expect to be heard and justice restored. That’s worth something to me; to know that my children have the confidence to speak up and the expectation and confidence that the authority figures in their life will intervene in order to protect them. As frustrating as it can be to play referee, I value the behind-the-scenes processes that have created this confidence.

I’m sure you’ve seen Facebook’s current cartoon character meme:

‘Change your profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. Until Monday (Dec 6) there should be no human faces on Facebook, but an invasion of memories. This is a campaign to raise awareness for the need to stop violence against children.’

I don’t always play along with stuff like that, because I think that for the majority of people, ‘raising awareness’ is the end of their thought process. They do their part to appear fashionable without ever following that awareness with action. I said as much on my personal Facebook wall, and have been engaged in discussion with several friends about that. One of my friends, a new one whom I’m happy to claim as such, made the excellent point that as a parent her efforts to prevent violence against children begin with her own child. In raising her son in an environment with fully functioning and concerned parents, she is working to ensure the next generation will value the same.

From that perspective, yes; I am willing to play referee when the need arises. But then again, having siblings of my own, I know exactly how much effort can go into deliberately toeing the line of bugging the crap out of your sister/brother, which might get a verbal reprimand vs. outright bullying, which typically leads to more severe consequences.

I’ve also been keeping an eye on the ‘It gets better’ project, which is primarily a site to raise awareness for LGBT teens who may be enduring bullying, ridicule and other forms of outright abuse that life gets better as an adult. I’ve also seen it used to condemn bullying of any sort, and to encourage victims of bullying to seek help. Though none of our kids seem to be gay, they are all getting to the age of being more aware of sexuality and pairing up; LBB has a ‘girlfriend’ now, an even though it’s quite innocent, the girl in question’s mother and I have had extensive conversations between ourselves and with the children about what is appropriate and what is not. Interestingly, we’ve also both initiated conversations with our own younger children about teasing their older sibs about ‘liking’ someone an how hurtful that can be.

Anyone who ever thought that being a parent was an easy job is sorely mistaken. I was under the impression that it got easier as they got older and more independent; so far that’s not true. There are myriad nuances to helping them grown into caring, open-minded, responsible adults and I hope I am up to the challenge.



2 responses

  1. Hi, You are right it changes as they get older but is not all easier. Social relationships change and get more complex, between the kids (siblings and also friends). The hormones of puberty add mood swings and seem to sometimes prevent logical thought.

    My sons are 13 and 10 now. We also use attachment parenting.

    December 11, 2010 at 10:03 am

  2. Hi Christine! Thanks for commenting 🙂
    You know, I’d read that before and forgotten it; I’m glad you brought up the hormonal changes that do affect logical thought.

    December 11, 2010 at 11:32 am

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