Monday, March 28, 2016

On Staying Out of the Way

Near the end of The New Puberty, the authors highlight what another author has to say about parenting teenagers. Jennifer Senior, in her book All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, says:
Is it possible that adolescence is most difficult--and sometimes a crisis--not for teenagers as much as for the adults who raise them? That adolescence has a bigger impact on adults than it does on kids?
I think it's a good question, even for me, whose kids are really nowhere near their teenage years. But after two weeks straight on their Spring Break with my kids, and especially my two boys (ages 71/2 and nearly 5), I'm wondering if their constant competition is bad, annoying for me, or just plain normal?

I remember a few years ago when I went to the dentist while my trio was in school, and I had something done that I hadn't expected to need, and that something needed novocaine that wore off at the approximate moment that all three kids got home from school. The pain came out of my mouth in shocking waves. I've got a high pain tolerance, but this blew through it. My mouth hurt, and my husband wasn't going to be home for hours.

It was just me and the kids.

Luckily for me (and them, too), we have a nice yard and it was a nice day. The three of them played for at least 90 minutes while I sat watching them, silent. My mouth too much to think about much else besides the pain, and I realized how little they needed to hear my "Get down from theres" or "Give him a turn now" or "Please use kind words" or other phrases that we parents like to say.

Thinking back to that distant memory and linking it to the fresher one of my boys fighting and trying to be first at every single thing known to mankind (who woke up first? who can make their Easter candy last the longest? who can pee the longest? I'm making this last one up. I hope), I'm wondering if I should just sit back a bit and watch, let them work it out just a little more than I usually do.

I think biting my tongue is worth a try--and it's a lot less painful than a few shots of novocaine.


2 comments:

  1. When you wrote, "I realized how little they needed to hear my "Get down from theres" or "Give him a turn now" or "Please use kind words" or other phrases that we parents like to say," It rang true for me as well. I wonder how much they are tuning us out with all those verbal reminders? A thought provoking slice about some very real parenting moments we all can relate to, actually with boys and girls alike! thanks also for the book names.

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  2. They definitively tune us out! One of my students wrote a line in her "I am" poem: "I pretend I am listening to my mom."

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