My Husband "Subvet" says that when our first son "Sonshine" was born the sun rose on our world, when our second son "Gator" was born the sun laughed and when our daughter "Sugars" was born all the flowers bloomed. That says it all.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain."
Anonymous

Your mind is the garden, your
thoughts are the seeds, the harvest can either be flowers or weeds. — William
Wordsworth

Saturday, July 28, 2007

What are you teaching your children?

Many of you commented on me writing back to amazon.com to charge me for the book they'd already refunded. I think I said that when I asked Subvet what he wanted me to do he fed my own words back to me. It's true. The title of this post has been a mantra for me for a long time. Longer than I've had children for sure. Working in the Pediatrician's office I would frequently wonder about parents. Here are a couple of examples that I walked away from asking myself that question.

4 year old boy is in for well-check up and shots. Now for those who don't remember, the 4 year visit is the absolute worst in the entire 18 years that we see the kids. It's a very long visit as we have to check hearing and vision as well as all the normal stuff. And it is the only time that a kid gets 4 or 5 shots at the same time, after they're old enough to know what's coming. It's also the last time you get that many shots at once...unless you join the military. Well, shots are (of course) the last thing done before the family leaves. This one not quite cooperative, rather precocious boy had apparently reached his limit (and ours). We had to chase him around the room to get him on the table for the shots, then, as we're giving them with mom leaning across his trunk and holding his hands (SOP) he yells at the TOP of his lungs. "Get the F... off of me!!!" to his mother. Here's the important part. She did nothing, she said nothing. Now, it's a good thing that I don't live in California, where they're trying to outlaw spanking, because if MY boy (who's now 3 1/2) yells anything close to that to me. As soon as the nurses are done I'll be yanking him up off that table and whipping his butt for him real good. But at the time I was childless and I just shook my head and thought, what did she just teach her son? It's OK to say anything to anyone when you're in a stressful situation??

I get a phone call from a mom wanting her kindergartner to be seen by the MD. OK, why? This is 2-3 weeks after the start of school. Her school just hired an additional teacher and has taken kids from each of the existing classes to make up a class for the new teacher, paring down the size of each of the existing classes. Her little darling girl was the only one from that particular class chosen to go to the new teacher's class. Now, mom is apparently on the rampage. She thinks it's SOOO UNFAIR that her little darling has to change classes "after she just bonded with the old teacher and now she knows none of the kids in the new class." Mom has had shouting matches (she told me this) with the principal over this as well as the school counselors. Darling girl doesn't want to go to school (go figure) and is complaining of stomachaches every morning. Mom wants the child examined by the MD to prove that it's psychological and to have the MD write a note saying that it's detrimental to the child's health to change classes and she must stay with the teacher and kids "she's already bonded with." What do I say? Sure, whatever, make an appointment. But what do I think?? REALLY LADY, What are you teaching your daughter? Are you teaching her that things do not always go according to how you expect and that every change has the potential to bring new and exciting things into your life? Are you teaching her that adaptability is an asset in this uncertain world? NO, you just taught her that if you stamp you foot long enough and scream loud enough to enough people, not to mention holding your breath till you turn blue, you'll get exactly what you want. Now, as a mom I understand her sadness for her child being placed in a difficult situation.

But (and this is my point) every situation that our children face is a "teachable moment." It is up to us as parents to not only recognize the moment to teach, but also be very mindful of what lessons we are teaching.

4 comments:

Cookie..... said...

MightyMom...well written article...and your point is as I have been saying for years. Many of todays adults (term used only to describe age) cannot cope with change and adversity because of parental pandering....something I firmly believe began with the person I like to call the "infamous" Dr. Spock....

If'n yur not familiar with him...google his name and gander at his books...

Agin amiga...good read....and OH SO TRUE!!

jennifer said...

I am so with you on this post. Kids repeat and act the way they have seen or have been permitted to act.

I have a one time rule. One time they may misbehave before I correct them to the proper behavior. When the kids were little I always had a 'pep' talk before we went anywhere explaining what I expected of them.

They listen because I expect them too. I can think of only one time where a screaming kid(my oldest) caused me to leave a store. I then told him we will not go again until he can behave. Problem solved.

Of course, feeding the kids before I went to the store or the doctor sure helped.

I love the no nonsense way you see things and thanks so much for blogging!
Jen

Kitty said...

Boy, you are so right about teachable moments!!! They happen all the time, even with older kids. Sometimes I think I nail it and handle it great, other times I know I look more foolish than the parents you described in this post!!! =) By the way, congratulations on the baby's rolling!! My baby is about the same age and he rolled for the first time, today, too!!! =)

Flanders Fields said...

You're right. The kids need to learn properly and the best time is from times that we don't even think about. We are so busy trying to do what we feel has to be done that we miss opportunities to teach at the same time.

One thing - when kids are growing, watch their fascinations. It is the things which their peers teach them after a certain age more than what we teach them which they can get sidetracked onto. If they are fascinated by things good or bad, that is what they likely will follow. Try to provide positive subjects for fascination even after they are teens.