This morning I struggled with the desire to whip my kids into shape. Make them eat what I want them to eat, so I can be organized and manage my day. Study what I need them to study so that I can feel like we are going in the right direction.
My six-year-old son, Walker, asked for string cheese. I actually told him no, that he could choose a fruit, because of my need to adhere to our pre-planned menu. I then struggled with my own desire that, instead of oatmeal, I really wanted a banana with peanut butter, but how could I allow myself to eat what I want when I’m dictating to my son what he can and cannot eat. So after some time dedicated to thinking this through, I gave him the string cheese.
I really wanted my kids to do their list of tasks, such as math lessons, etc. Walker wanted to watch Wild Kratts. He learned about China, panda anatomy, geography, climates, biomes. Then Arthur, where he learned about citizenship.
I know how very controlling my own parents were and how insidiously hurtful and damaging it is and was to me. I struggle to learn a new and better way. My mother still hurts me with her need to constantly control and put boundaries between us. It feels as though one is being treated as a commodity, to be enjoyed for a short period and then whimsically disposed of. There must be a better way. I don’t want my children to feel that. I don’t want to feel that way about them. There is so much self-work that goes into parenting it is amazing.
From a book I am slowly reading: Real Boys Voices by William S. Pollack, Ph.D., Introduction, “We still live in a society in which our boys and young men are simply not receiving the consistent attention, empathy, and support they truly need and desire.”