Thursday, March 31, 2011

High Expectations

I received some perspective today from an unexpected source. I was at my friends house and her husband came home for lunch. I got ready to leave and mentioned offhandedly about the stress my children were causing me.

My friend mentioned her struggles with her son and his attitude and in my attempt to say, "I'm right there with you!" I totally took over the situation as I tearily explained that one of my sons lacked character and conviction and I wasn't going to let him play with his friends until he developed some. Also, I wasted their entire lunch hour with my stories. Yep, I'm that kind of friend (but she loves me anyways)

My oldest son has been making poor choices lately.

The thing is, he's amazing.

And not just, I'm his mom so I have to love him amazing, but like, genius adorable everyone wants to be his friend and know him, amazing.

The kid is impressive is all I'm sayin' :)

Yet whenever he plays with any friend (at all, even the good ones) he has this need to show off. Showing off when you are 6 means bathroom words, inappropriate guestures, unsafe actions and unkind words apparently. I generally see this as a learning experience but after 3 ridiculous instances of one upmanship last week I had had enough. He was banned from friends and put on "glue" duty where he has to stick with an adult at all times (it's our version of grounding).

I ranted for hours last Thursday night (to my poor husband as he played a video game) about how I couldn't teach him character and good judgement and he should just know! I didn't want him to turn out like so and so who had so much potential but always made bad decisions! Was I raising a potential future convict?! What could I do!

So um yeah, I was a little distraught over the matter.

He handled his punishment well during the 4 day weekend and I saw glimmers of my amazing son every now and then but there's still a lot of work to do. These tearful admissions bring us back to the moment of perspective courtesy of my friends husband.

After unloading all this on my friends at a totally inappropriate time, the husband says to me, "but you have to remember that he's 6." You may be thinking, "duh!" but this was an "AHA!" moment for me. My friend and her husband went on to give me examples of kids testing boundaries, the teaching moments this gives us as parents, and how surrounding them in a healthy environment is our best way to deal with that sort of thing. They pretty much explained that what he is doing is kind of like, you know, ummm normal...and gave me permission to not have exceedingly high expectations.

Now I feel like I can calm down, grow up a little and focus more on my sons many successes. Not sure what it is that makes me overreact about these things but I the extreme.

Thank the Lord that I have friends like these to bring me back to sanity and spare my sons some of my ridiculousness. I'm still concerned about his behavior but I'm now going to adopt the mantra. "He's young. He'll learn. We can work on it together."

If that doesn't work I'll just sink to his level and copy everything he does til he gets that it's not okay (mimicking is good parenting right?).

You know, cause it's important to have a backup plan :)

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