Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Normal kids...

Just in case any young moms read my blog, I want to tell you this. Sometimes kids act up. They yell or they scream or they act like idiots. They will do things that you know you’ve taught them not to do….. I remember that I used to die a thousand deaths when my kids would misbehave – and let me tell you, while my kids weren’t the worst, they certainly weren’t the best, and so they misbehaved pretty frequently. Gawd, I was so embarrassed.

But here’s the thing: There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, your child’s occasional temper fit or sassiness is usually ok with most people, because they’ve been there and done that and sometimes it’s downright reassuring because it makes us all feel normal. Oh I know, one of your neighbors has that perfect child who finishes all of his or her school work, chews with their mouth closed, and is the most polite, compliant child you’ll ever meet. La De Da. That’s not normal. Your kid is normal. So we understand. And if you run across people who judge you or glare at you when your kid acts normally, screw ‘em.

I don’t know what prompted this post. I think it’s because last week I was carpooling some of the high school soccer girls home, and happened to be bringing home one of the “perfect” children. Listening to her talk in the car, it struck me that she had grown into a very fearful and kind of odd young woman. I don’t think I’m having sour grapes here. I remember worrying about her a few years ago, when she was in Girl Scouts with my daughter. Even at the young age of 11 or 12, I could see that her perfection was coming at quite a cost to her. She was constantly worried about doing the wrong thing.

So, be happy with your child’s imperfections and misbehavior. Each time they act up, it’s like a chance to learn. They learn first of all that behavior has consequences, and second and maybe even more important, that making a mistake, even a gigantic mistake, is NOT the end of the world. We just deal with it and move on. That’s what normal people do.

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