One of the things that amazes me about parenthood is that we often expect more of our kids than we ourselves are capable of giving. Here’s a few examples I’ve noticed. Do you have anything to add?
1. Be cheerful all the time. Typically if Nick gets stroppy or moody, he gets told off. Yet who tells us off when we get the same? No one. No one is game enough to! Why do we expect kids to be polite and cheerful all the time when I can count on one hand the number of times I’m polite and cheerful in a whole week!
2. Put their clothes away/in the laundry. I have a habit of walking into Nick’s room and barking orders about clothes not being left on the floor, shoes not being put away, but if you walk into my room, what will you find on the floor? Mine and The Mechanic’s clothes, plus shoes randomly scattered through the house.
3. Not make a mess while eating/drinking. I almost lost my mind the other night when Mr 5 spilled dinner all over the floor. OK, so by “all over the floor” I mean he dropped a few pieces of dinner. Today while baking I spilled brown sugar and icing sugar all over the counter and the floor. It doesn’t take but 10 seconds to clean it up, it’s easy enough to do, so why get so uptight about it?
4. Make their beds every day. In my defense, I *do* make our bed every day. Hubby on the other hand….I’m not saying he never makes it, but let’s just say there have been times he’s telling Nick to make HIS bed and I peek in our room to see an unmade bed, because he was the last one out of it! Don’t tell him to do something you practically never do!
5. Not get an attitude. About ANYTHING. This is really related to #1. But it’s like we expect them to want to go grocery shopping, or to want to go to bed, or to want to go to school, and damnit, they will be HAPPY about it! Nick REALLY hates all of the above, and is starting to fight all of them on a bit more regular basis. I can’t blame him, I have a pretty poor attitude towards grocery shopping, going to work, and doing uni stuff. Why do I think a 5 year old should be able to just suck it up when this 35 year old can’t?
6. Do their homework, happily! It’s a bit tiring, every afternoon, answering “But WHYYYYY” when I say it’s time for homework. It’s like pulling teeth! And I get it, because I’d rather be on FB, playing Candy Crush, or blogging than do my school assignments and study as well.
7. Not want to play on the phone/computer/iPad. Nick wakes up and the first thing he does is go to the computer. Before breakfast he is asking if he can play Wii. In front of the TV he is also playing on the iPad/iPhone. We tell him not to, but how can we be so hypocritical? The first and last thing I do almost every day is check my phone. While The Mechanic is eating breakfast he is reading the news on the computer. Every 10 minutes I check my phone! And I wonder why he’s addicted?
8. Make friends and play nicely with everyone. Let’s face it, adults aren’t that great at making new friends. We’re often judgmental, cynical, we talk behind people’s backs (don’t lie – I’ve never met an adult who DOESN’T do this!). But we tell our kids to be nice to everyone, include everyone, be friendly with everyone. Ironically, kids are pretty good at playing with whoever is around, they don’t really care about anything else, t hey’re just stoked to have someone to play with. As an only child, this is something Nick has perfected.
9. Go straight to sleep when they go to bed. More often than not I can actually manage this. I am usually asleep seconds after my head hits the pillow. But there are nights I toss, turn, want to get back up and watch TV or go on the computer or play games on my phone, until I am tired. Why wouldn’t the same also be true for a 5 year old?
I don’t want to be a dictator to my child. I know parents need to be the authority and they need to make the rules and set the boundaries. It’s just that, since having kids, I’ve come to realise that they are people, too. They’re not just a little person you get to boss around and demand things of. The best way to lead is by example. Be firm but kind, just like Mary Freaking Poppins. And if you find yourself about to blow a gasket, take a deep breath, count to 10, and ask where they could POSSIBLY have gotten this behaviour from. I know in our house, it’s usually from me!
What do you expect of your kids that you don’t do yourself?
Linking up with Jess for IBOT! Because it’s awesome.