By Christa D. Reed
I have four boys, my twins, almost 18 and seniors in high school, my almost 13-year-old in middle school and my youngest who is eight and in 2nd grade at the elementary school. When you have four kids (especially boys) odds will be that there will be at least one child that will struggle more or be more defiant or break more rules, whatever it may be. Having twins first I realized that in small ways ignorance was bliss as I had absolutely no experience to compare to how much work it truly was rearing twin babies. I mean change one diaper, change the next… feed one baby, feed the other one. This was just how life was for us. The challenge of making sure everyone was fed, dry and breathing was not only hectic but could make you feel like a hamster running on a giant wheel in a cage. But eventually we got into a rhythm and we got through it. For us, we always talked about having more kids and I wanted to see what it was like just having one baby so after almost five years of recovery time from the twins we had our third son and almost five years later we had our youngest son.
Now you might think, wow, twins, that must be so hard! But honestly, my twins were almost easier than my singleton babies/toddlers. Even though I had to do double the work, they always had each other to keep entertained and were such good babies and toddlers. Even on into elementary school and middle school they hardly ever got into any trouble and were such good students and boys.
You have probably heard the saying, “You only get what you can handle” well apparently after tackling twins the universe sent me my challenge with my middle son. He came into the world four and a half weeks early through an emergency C-section and had to fight just to survive. This kid has been fighting ever since. It has not been easy for my son but we have given him the love and support he needs and we hope he will outgrow some of his issues. With that said, I have had my fair share of meetings with principals, teachers and counselors and have had endless phone conversations and discussions with principals, counselors, teachers, bus drivers, and coaches. He has had his fair share of detentions, suspensions and has missed out on parties and field trips and other school functions throughout the years.
Through all of these struggles, I have learned that as parents the best way we can support our children and work through their issues is to stop being in denial about their behaviors and accept them so you can help them get past them and learn valuable lessons. Placing the blame on other kids or parents only hurts your child in the long run because you are giving them a pass on their behavior or involvement. You may think you are sticking up for your child by saying, “That could never be MY kid” or even believing that your child would never make a poor choice but is it really a stretch to think that your child could not have been involved in “said” incident or would never make a bad choice? Is it so hard to believe that your perfect child would ever make a mistake? I am here to tell you that they will. Wouldn’t you want your kids to make these mistakes while you are there to help them through it then wait until they are in college and you are spending thousands of dollars for them to make mistakes then? How is being in denial now going to help them in the long run?
So parents we need to stop saying the following five words IT WAS NOT MY KID and start saying these five words WHAT DID MY KID DO? By doing this, your children will learn to take responsibility for their actions and not just put the blame on others.
Always remember this: Your children will make mistakes and their mistakes are not YOUR mistakes… they are THEIR mistakes. How you teach them to bounce back from adversity is the greatest gift you can give them not how they handle success!
So the next time you get a call about your child please consider asking those five words: what did my kid do? Everyone will be much better off in the long run.