March 21, 2014

I refuse to raise a mean child. But ultimately the choice is up to them.

I have been having the same parenting conversation recently with one of my children and feel like I'm stuck in the movie Groundhog Day. 
"Mom, today (fill in any school circumstance in the class or on the bus where one child was the target of laughter) and I laughed a little that bad?" Or, "Today I chimed in on and then I giggled only a little at so in so...."  "So in so was misbehaving on the bus, and I encouraged it a little too....but only a little..."  

Is there such think as laughing A LITTLE
at another child? No, to that child it looks like this.
I cherish the honestly and opportunity to parent, and it really shows the sweetness of my child. But I am plain sick of saying, "Don't give in to peer pressure and act like the other kids. You should have done this, or should have handled it like this, or next time, or WWJD? or fill in blank here____"
Last night the same conversation had a new twist. After yet another story, I explained AGAIN how her father and I were the target of laughter when we were children. "You know Mommy and Daddy were laughed at and that made them sad."
I could not believe the response my child gave back, who clearly is out parenting my parenting. 

"Well, look how great you turned out Mom. So I don't think I should really feel that bad."
Really? Are you kidding me?

I calmly said, "Look, I am tired of telling you how to you should act. You have a choice in life, to be one of these people in this category" (insert me pointing to imaginary Group A), "OR you can be one of these people over here." (Imaginary Group B.) "This group cares about other peoples feelings, and this other group cares what other people think.  I have a feeling if this happened at church, you would have handled it differently.  But you chose to fall under peer pressure and handle it like the rest of the group.  I am not going to tell you what group to be in, that is your choice. I know what group I would like you to be in, and what group God would like you to be in.  But you need to make a decision which group it is, and your everyday actions should match whatever group you choose to be in. I am going to leave the room now and give you time to think about it." Me pointing. "This group here or this one over here."
A look of fear set in and possibly a tear. "Wait mommy, I know what group I want to be in. Whichever one you just pointed to that was the nice group, because I can't tell just by you pointing at them."
I got a good chuckle, and I think the better choice will be made.

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