As a blog writer and contributor, I am constantly on the lookout for inspiration. It can come in the form of a book or article I read, a conversation I have with another parent or interactions I have with my own kids. The more open-minded I am, the more opportunities I have to spark my creativity. Lately, I’ve made more of an effort to engage others in deliberate conversations to get ideas. I even decided to ask my kids directly about their thoughts on parenting. My eight -year old did not take it seriously at first so I moved on to my ten-year old. I could tell he was going to be honest and that he actually had something to say. The questions I asked are in bold, and his responses are italicized.
What’s the hardest part about being a parent?
“The hardest thing is you can’t control your kids’ emotions. You can’t make them smart. You can’t make them like the beach if it isn’t in their personality.”
What’s the best part about being a parent?
“Seeing your kids happy. If they are in a very bad mood, give them a snack and they will be happy.”
What’s the best part about being a kid?
“Playing football with my friends and family.”
What’s the hardest part about being a kid?
“Homework and school. Taking [standardized] tests because sometimes they give you questions you don’t know. Sometimes I rush my homework because it interferes with my outside playtime.”
Overall, I think I fared pretty well in his assessment. I appreciated that he wants to be accepted for who he is and not be something he isn’t. He definitely is a kid who needs to be fed regularly so his answer about giving moody kids a snack was both charming and accurate. His thoughts about standardized testing were interesting. There is so much pressure on kids starting younger and younger it seems. I’m thankful that even though he finds them challenging, he manages them well.
The biggest lesson I learned is to ask my kids more questions. It’s true I’ve lived more years on this earth than them, but it doesn’t make me an expert on who they are. Since I want to know as much as possible about them, it makes sense to go straight to the source.
It’s in the listening that we often learn the most in life. The real question is, are we brave enough to face the answers?
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent