Monday, February 1, 2016

perfect children

On Monday evenings, I go pow-wow with a small group of my dear mom friends. For about 2 hours (or more, if I get to talking...) we snack and chat about life. 

Most common topic of conversation: our children. 

I learn so much from these women. We don't all parent alike, but we all respect each other's choices in parenting styles. That's a pretty valuable thing to find in friendships: respect despite differences.

But tonight, we all agreed on one thing: the truth behind what our children tell us. 

So often my children with run into the house, exclaiming about the tragedy that has befallen upon them because of the dreadful behavior of a neighborhood friend. (Now any of my neighbors reading this will just chuckle because I'm pretty sure their children have run in to complain about my kids as well!) 

Here's how the conversation typically goes:

My child: "Whine, whine, whine, moan, complain, grumble, cry, sob, whiiiiiiiine!!" 
Me: "Really? That's too bad...what did you say/do to make them respond to you in that way?" 
My child: "Nothing!! I just told them blah, blah, blah..." (Which is often something that can be misconstrued by the other child as hurtful, exclusive, or just mean, even if my kid didn't mean it that way.)

Then I chat with them about how the other kiddo probably felt and why they responded the way they did and then I send my kid back out there to figure it out. (Please note, unless a line has been crossed, we do send our children out to deal. This is our personal preference in raising our children: to learn how to solve conflict on their own. We guide them and teach them and then send them out to figure it out. Sometimes they fail, but that's an important way to learn too.) 

Now, my parenting skills are not spectacular, but my friends will agree on this (I hadn't heard it before tonight, but it's right on): There are 3 sides to every story: his, hers, and the truth.

Now, I tell you all that to make this point: my children aren't always in the wrong. They haven't always been the ones to cause the treatment they have received. However, it has proved to be very valuable to me to find out the back story, the situation surrounding the hurt feelings by talking the situation through with my children. My kids aren't perfect. They don't always make the best choices or say the right thing. After all, they are kids. Shucks, there are plenty of adults out there who act the same as my children! 

And like one of my girlfriends said this evening: nobody's child is perfect. Not even yours! (Ok, I added that last part for emphasis.) 

And when we realize that, it helps us handle our children's experiences in life with a little more grace and understanding. 
Even if the other child is being a booger.

Here's to the moms and dad who are trying to raise not perfect children, but good and godly children. Keep up the good work!


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