Thursday, December 12, 2013

//Thoughts on Rules and Expectations//


I need to keep this word in my vocabulary.  For me, grace means taking my mistakes lightly.  I know, I know- some of you want to tell me that taking things too lightly might be dangerous because some things are really serious.  I get what you are saying.  I do.  I want to share something I've been thinking about, though.

Lately, I've been worried about how upset my boys get about the rules I attempt to impose.  They see all these rules as restrictions instead of boundaries.  I bring them to a friend's house and tell them "don't touch this. don't touch that."  And then, you know what?  They touch every single thing I tell them not to touch.  They "defy" me at every turn.  They touch and they run.  And I am left sweating.  I'm on the verge of tears and thinking thoughts like "are my kids okay?"  "why won't they listen?" and "what am I doing wrong?"  But you know what?

there is nothing wrong with them.

there is nothing wrong with me.

It's the house that's wrong.  Seriously, it's the house.  I'm expecting too much of them.  It's a new place.  They are curious and want to explore.  And my kids are "touch-ers."  They need to touch in order to explore.  They are running and jumping and touching everything and all the while, they are smiling!  One day I saw their smiles as I was thinking all those previously mentioned thoughts and I realized:  They are so freaking happy right now!  They are having fun.  And while no, they really can't touch that lamp or drink that beer- I just need to relax.  I need to stop saying "no, no, no."  If it's dangerous or if they are close to breaking something then yes, I can intervene.  But sometimes I tend to believe it's the rules that are the problem.

As parents we can get overly upset when our kids don't listen.  I'm starting to realize that my frustration comes from a need to control, rather than a desire to teach or lead.  And a million and one rules (which is what i grew up with) don't normally work.  If a house is not baby-proof enough then I can make the choice to not go or get a babysitter. (side note- I know my kids are young and these issues are not as prevalent yet, but I'm thinking ahead and want to start the process of encouraging freedom rather than authoritarian parenting now.) 

When I think of all the wrong choices I could make when it comes to parenting; all the ways I could fail my children, I remind myself it's the attitude behind our mistakes that truly matter.  Our mistakes can and will be trivial if we are able to see past our "failures."  I want to see the fresh start before it happens.  Let's live lightly, like the feather as it moves the bird to fly.

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  1. Yes. I see this need to control/to say No arise in both me and my partner at different times for different reasons and it always seems that there Is an urgency to keep on task, in one that our little boys don't adhere to. It's admirable a characteristic but frustrating as hell! Those moments we you consciously your children for the unknowing little explorer animals that they are (miraculous animals). Those are the times that I feel I learn the most from them. They are never doing anything Against the grain (our grain) per se. They are just Blissful in their littlehood. It a beautiful foil to the Learned way we've become.

    1. I totally get what you are saying! I just don't understand the expectation for them to act like grownups or even that they should. How can I expect them to sit by my side all the time when it is natural for them to be little explorers? I find they keep themselves in check most of the time and sometimes if i catch myself from sying "no stay by me." i see that they do stay pretty close. all by themselves. they are capable of way more than i realize! <3

  2. Ok. That comment was riddled with typos.

  3. I'm new at this mama business, but Wes has started biting me a lot recently and it takes everything in me to not want to get upset with him. I've gone back and forth wondering why he is doing it or trying to understand he isn't doing it on purpose. I assume it just gets worse with a toddler! I admire your desire to reflect on the fact that maybe they aren't out to "get you" or defy you, but that they are in an environment that makes it hard to control themselves. I used to work in a boutique filled top to bottom with sparkly and breakable things. It always amazed me that mothers would bring their children in there and then say don't touch. Not only is that unfair, but its impossible! Children are curious. I learned in a class once about gentle parenting and learned tips on how to stop saying no. Maybe you can teach them in those moments that there are things they can touch and things they cannot, then show them. Instead of just saying "no" maybe explain why and then redirect them to things they can do. Again, I don't know much, but that is something that popped in my mind when I read your post. Good luck- they are blessed to have a mom that is so understanding and loving!

    1. yes, exactly! i love your advice and i am starting to implement more and more of that. Although, sometimes i notice other people start to parent my children. That frustrates me only when I don't think they are doing anything wrong. About the biting- if you figure it out let me know! haha, asher bites when he wants my attention and I'm not sure what to do about it. He's been getting better as he gets older, but still does it too much. <3 He actually tried to bite our friend's dog the other day! That is a perfect situation where I definitely had to say "no" and explain things to him as best as i could. haha. ;)



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