When I am the most frustrated with parenting repetitiously, the best antidote for me is a little talk with my child. That has always been a secret remedy. I find out the most interesting things when I bother to listen my frustration out. I don’t mean lecture, then listen. I mean slow down and hear.
What I often find is that my children have completely distorted something I have said or misinterpreted something they have heard. There are times when I am gob-stopped by what notions my children are harboring due to plain misunderstanding.
Here are just a few of the many interesting things I learned over the years through little talks:
- At twelve, my daughter thought my caucasian husband and her step-father of eight years was African American because he had a tan most of the year. At the time this notion hit her, he drove a convertible, so…unhealthy tan.
- At fourteen, I overheard my son tell a friend of his that we were rich. Really? I had about $400 dollars in the bank, which by many standards is rich; however, I wouldn’t say we were rolling in dough. When I asked him why he thought that, he said because I told him we were rich. When I thought about it, I realized I had repeatedly told my children since they were very young something like, We have everything we need in life because we are rich with love. Since he didn’t understand the concept, he held on to the part he did understand.
- At nineteen, the young woman I am fostering due to her homelessness walked to Target to buy something with the allowance I give her. On her way home, she held a lengthy conversation with a homeless man, gave him a hug, and twenty dollars. She said, I’ve been homeless, so I wanted to give him something. Sweet heart, but theoretically she is still somewhat homeless, and whatever happened to, Don’t talk to random strangers and definitely resist randomly hugging them while alone near an alley? I thought all that was implied in, Be very careful. Guess not.
- Recently my son announced to all of his friends and family that he was transgender and went about planning his transition to a girl. All of us were, uh, incredulous because this is something that has never been on the horizon. Ever. He was very disappointed and angry when I told him I could not shell out $50,000 to complete a transition. Torn between being supportive and being the voice of reason, we had several little talks and I finally discovered that he had been conversing online for quite some time with a couple of transitioning adults and thought some of their feelings pre-op fit him. Because he has severe Sensory Integration Disorder his proprioception issues cause him to be delicate with how he engages his environment. He interpreted this as being like a girl.
The little talks you have with your children can reveal many things that cause behavior that can be trying to you as a parent. My children only engage in little talks when it is very quiet in the early morning or late evening hours. Sometimes it is hard to give up my only personal time to pursue the internal workings of my children. I have to tell my inner tantruming teenager to suck it up, my actual child’s needs are more important.
The next 8 hr. Trust Based Parent Training is scheduled for April 23rd and 30th from 12noon to 4pm. $200 per couple. Childcare available for $30 each day, second child $10 additional. To sign up email Jen@attachplace.com and she will register you.
Look for Ce’s Upcoming Book