In a recent meeting I attended, a colleague asked me about my boys. I felt lit up from the inside as I talked about their recent achievements and other various details of their lives. After I finished ‘my-kids-are-awesome’ spiel, she commented that she was impressed that I am enjoying them so much at this age. In her experience, most parents she spoke to often didn’t have a lot of positives to say about their offspring who were near the same age as my boys (8 & 10).
After I left the meeting, it got me thinking. Am I completely delusional that I think my kids are incredible, unique and talented individuals?
That very day our family holiday break began. In fact, we are still on it. Most of our extended family has left at this point and the boys packed in a lot of outdoor sports, video games and late nights up with their cousins. My ten-year old had his moments but he managed to hang with his cousins pretty well. My eight-year old couldn’t. He was so overly tired and beyond frustrated with not being able to keep up with the older boys in football, that he had an epic meltdown. I had to step in and escort him back to where we are staying as he screamed, cried and was downright belligerent. As his tantrum escalated I realized that this was about as far from awesome as one could falter.
After the tantrum was over I faced a choice. Do I focus on the frustration of an eight-year old meltdown or do I focus on the ways he warms my heart?
This year my parenting resolution is that I make a conscious effort to talk more about what I love about my kids instead of what drives me nuts. I am certain in the coming months they will have unpredictable, head-scratching behavior. My renewed commitment not to dwell on it is a decision. One I hope brings peace in the New Year.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent