There is a fine line between allowing your child to give their opinion and having to discipline them because they are out of line. I really am at a loss as to where exactly that line is drawn. Recently I made the decision to stop apologizing for my kids every time they do something that embarrasses me. I know I have and will (intentionally) embarrass them and I don’t think they run around apologizing for their crazy wine drinking mom. This is much harder than I ever expected, unless of course I am dealing with June. Kids will be kids and they will say things and do things that appall you, and most times I feel like I am thinking less about my kid and more about the perception on our family. My husband has been clear on where he stands, ‘Screw everyone else, it’s us we have to be concerned with’. Easily said, but when you are trying to ensure your child keeps their friends, it gets very mucky.
This week we had one of those incidents where whatever my kid said to a friend turned into her telling her mom and the mom banning her from being friends with my child. What’s worse is that the child approached me and my child and hugged her and told her how much she will miss her over the summer, “but you know my mom says you’re not a nice girl and I can’t be your friend anymore”. I immediately pull my kid over to the side and start grilling her about what she said, what she did, what she was wearing that day and if she had brushed her teeth that morning. My daughter can’t really recall the details of what happened, just that they argued she told her she was upset with her and she thought all was fine. To me, this is the attitude I have asked my kids to take with friends, when you spend so much time together you are going to get on each other’s nerves (like you do mommy’s) and you need to forgive and move on. Call me crazy, but I am one of those free thinkers (not to be confused with a tree hugger or dirty hippy) and I like to just move on with life.
I have friends that are in the same boat as I am. We know that we have strong willed kids and that at times they are going to do or say what they are thinking. Can we blame them? Didn’t we do the same thing as kids? Will it serve them better in life as adults to take things head on and not play the game? I have a great friend, and when she reads this she will know I am talking about her. We have two of the most strong willed five year olds you will ever meet, they have been known to make grown men cower in the corner. They will be the leaders of the world one day, I am sure of it. For a while we went back and forth apologizing gently for what our darlings did or said to each other and then we realized that while we were busy apologizing for them they had moved on and were walking down the street holding hands, most likely planning who to harass next. I have told her that I have a vision that 70 years from now they will both be widowed, roommates in assisted living and still bickering with each other about the pettiest of things. I sincerely hope she and I have a front row seat in Heaven with a good bottle of wine to enjoy that show.
Being a judge in a subjective competition is a no win situation. You try to teach your kid to make good decisions and try to educate them when they don’t. They are going to do things you don’t want them to do or that you never did and you need to be realistic. I am trying to keep my balance on that fine line I need to walk that keeps my child in check and happy. For now, all this parenting talk has gotten my undies in a bunch, I am going to take the kids for a walk with their harmonicas past June’s house and see if her daughter is allowed to say hi to us today. If not, I hope they like the harmonica repeat of Twinkle, Twinkle.