I’ve learned that being a parent only gives you the slightest illusion of control. We don’t control much of what they do, or what they feel, or their heavy glitter pour, or strange distaste for vegetables.
But we do get to control how we look and react to things.
I’ve mentioned before the constant mental wrestling match with the state of our basement. Does messy mean they are slobs? Or does messy mean they are using the room as intended? How should I react?
I’m now having the same struggle with a teenager’s bedroom, the one I look at every time I climb the stairs. The one littered with clothes and other “important”… junk that can’t be moved. Is it worth fighting over? Or is it part of how they figure things out?
If she sees me make my bed every day, or clean up the kitchen after meals, or pick up a random sock, will that practice eventually sink in? Maybe. Better to model the behavior than rail against it. We choose what we see. That’s what we can control.
I often complain about the kids in this blog, in a humorous way, but still usually some chiding complaint. I thought I should at least offer a positive story once in awhile. Just not too often. Don’t want them to get inflated egos.
Cecilia didn’t do well on a test (sorry, can’t call them tests anymore – check-in) earlier this year. To be fair, given the email we received from the teacher, many kids did not do well (which might make me think about the teaching methods…). I digress.
Cecilia latched onto this group failure as her life preserver. Sorry, not going to work, in school or life. You will make mistakes. Nobody is perfect and we all make our fair share of mistakes. Even Dad bloggers. Maybe one or two a year.
However, if you do not take responsibility for the mistake and do your best to correct it, then you are committing a second mistake. You can probably picture me telling her this. Or you probably have given your own kids similar advice. Take responsibility. Do the right thing, even though you may feel embarrassed by your previous actions. Don’t compound the error.
You also probably walked away wondering if any of that sank into their teenage brain.
Well, last Wednesday, I received an unexpected text that Cecilia was staying after school for extra help to prepare for a te-, eh, check-in the next day. She listened! She didn’t compound the error! She still rolled her eyes when I picked her up, but I’m sure she was smiling on the inside.