Man. The hardest part about parenting some times is NOT SAYING A DAMN THING. Especially because I am your stereotypical nagging Mom. I repeat things and state obvious things CONSTANTLY and it drives everyone crazy.
As our kids get older and we see them struggling with the ramifications of their non-ideal decisions (Like having a bad basketball game because they stayed up too late the night before) you can’t help but say, “Hopefully next time you’ll remember this and won’t stay up so late before an important game.”
I have done that often.
But right now I’m really trying to channel my teen-Zoot and remember that I KNEW THAT TRUTH AND DID NOT NEED SOMEONE REMINDING ME. I talk to my kids a lot about how I parent them, and I take suggestions from them if they think there are things I could do that would yield better results for their individual struggles. For example, Wes did not like me nagging him in the morning to get ready so our compromise was all I say is, “Five minute warning!” before we go out the door and he promises to be at the door in 5 minutes if I quit nagging him.
AND IT WORKED!
The kids have also talked to me about how saying the obvious things/lessons they know…that they already feel bad…is actually counterproductive because then they switch into irritation mode with me.
But man…it is SO HARD. I’m basically just typing this blog entry to keep from reminding my children how procrastinating sucks because right now they are tired and suffering through the lesson and DO NOT NEED MY REMINDER.
It’s such a parental tick though, isn’t it? To just want to state the obvious lesson out loud JUST IN CASE they haven’t considered it? I mean…what if they didn’t connect their crappy basketball game to their lack of sleep?
But after several talks my kids have assured me that they know the obvious lessons and the more helpful thing is to just SHUT UP and help them if I can and acknowledge their pain and just cross my fingers and hope they learn their lesson. I have recognized that tough schedules sometimes force procrastination and that, “If there’s anything I can do to help you in the future so you don’t get too overwhelmed at deadline time, let me know.”
SEE. It’s like DISCREETLY pointing out the obvious but in a way that offers to HELP instead of piling on when they already feel stupid for ending up where they’re at.
OH MY GOD BUT IT IS SO HARD.