Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Parenting for the parent

As happens from time to time (which is to say, almost daily), a couple of my kiddos got crosswise with one another this afternoon. Then, it escalated, and, as happens with childish arguments, both parties became petty and ridiculous. In an effort to put an end to the fracas, I appealed to the older child's sense of maturity by saying, "If you lower yourself to arguing with an out-of-control six-year-old, you are no different than an out-of-control six-year-old." I literally almost choked on the second half of the sentence, as my entire day came into focus. The yelling, the ranting, the pettiness, the ridiculousness. What kind of example had I been? I had been no different than a twelve-year-old, an eight-year-old, a six-year-old and even a three-year-old, and I was supposed to be the adult. My own carefully selected words, hurled at someone I thought might benefit from my parental wisdom, boomeranged back to me, the fulfillment of that old adage about how when you point one finger at someone else, three are pointing back at you. I'm not sure if a lasting impact was made on the intended hearer of my words (though the disagreement soon came to an end), but I know for sure someone in the room benefitted from hearing them. Often, when one of the kids is acting in a way not befitting his or her age, I will ask them how old they are, in an effort to remind them that people their age don't act that way. I am 37. It's time I started acting like it. Thank goodness tomorrow is always a new day, with new opportunities to try to get it right.

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