When I found out I was pregnant, I read What to expect when you’re expecting. Once my darling girl was born I sent out my hubby to get me What to expect The First Year. The day after her first birthday I hopped in the car with my girl in tow to Chapters for my coveted edition of What to expect The Toddler Years. Over the years I searched out answers to everything from when to introduce solid foods to how to get my child to poop….they never tell you that your child will hold onto that poop like it’s the hope diamond when it comes to getting on a toilet.
There are an endless number of books, articles and websites catering to parenting and child rearing, yet not one ever delves into the abyss of the one commonality we as parents all have and never talk about…taking it personally. Oh sure, you may be fortunate to find an article that tells you “every parent feels responsible for their child’s happiness or lack there of” or “every parent feels they should have done better”. Feeling responsible or feeling we could have done better is a hell of a lot different than taking it personally.
For those of you with children under the age of 12, I do not mean to frighten you. For those with children over the age of 12, I know you get me. All of a sudden we go from being our child’s fountain of knowledge to the douche wearing a dunce cap in the corner of the classroom. Our sense of humor that used to leave our child in stitches is now stared down with a blank stare and the occasional eye roll to prove sign of life. The begs of wanting to wear our clothes and fancy shoes are now met with mumbles of disgrace at our ensemble choice. Hurt feelings that used to be healed with a hug now are something we possibly couldn’t understand. A favorite treat brought home from the grocery store that was once greeted with squeals of delight and “thank you mommy!” are now met with shrieks of “Mom! You know I am fat! Why are you tempting me?!?!” sigh …kinda tough not to take it personally.
Ladies and gents, I am here to tell you one thing. It is not personal. Oh hell, it feels personal. Trust me, it’s not. Taking it personally not only makes you feel like shit, it feeds anger and resentment that does not need to be fed. Irrational words and behaviour from our kids met with irrational words and behaviour from us is well, irrational. … and stupid and serves no purpose. The only result is slamming doors, tears, people feeling the same way in separate rooms in the same house. Don’t get me wrong, ground rules of respect, kindness and courtesy should be in place and when those lines are crossed they should be pointed out. When your child gives you attitude, they need to be told that they are out of line. After that, you have no control over eye rolls or the silent treatment. It’s not personal…remember, no one likes it pointed out they just acted like an ass.
Your child doesn’t even realize the magnitude of their words or actions or the hurt they have just inflicted. Oh, they may realize after they have been said, they just aren’t at a place they can admit that. Yet. They will get there. Not on the schedule we need or desire, but they will get there. I promise. Being a parent of a 20 year old, I can honestly attest to this. If today’s tale stops one parent from taking it personally, I have done my job.
We are here to be the parent, not the friend. it’s not personal, it’s parenting.