My child is suffering. I can see it so clearly. I know I can help her if I just find the right way. I’m trying to explain to her how the world works. I’m trying to tell her how she has to behave.
I try to make sure I sit down with my children and just chat with them often. Being the only one of the four of us who is not ADD (even the dog is ADD) I have learned to follow their brains however they bounce. I have literally had the squirrel moment with my husband, son, and dog at the same time!
I was trying to explain to her that it is her relationship with Mommy that allows her to do that. That it especially aggravates grown-ups when you are getting in trouble (including Mommy). I was trying to listen to the things that she was telling me, even if they didn’t quite relate.
I’m talking to her, and she’s making faces at me. Admittedly, the first one came out of no where and had me giggling. But, truth is I’m getting so frustrated because I know she’s not listening. I talk to her about why she can’t do that. She continues to do it. I point out I’m not laughing. She says but you did the first time (pauses) so it’s only funny the first time?
Exactly, and I’m tempted to leave it at that. She’s found her own lesson in it and it is a correct one. But it’s not a complete one. So detour from the listening discussion again, detouring the conversation (all well I’m telling her we can’t change the subject to suit us). I convince myself that it all has to do with listening so it’s not really a change of subject. Right? So I take the time to explain to her that there are appropriate and inappropriate times to do things like making faces.
Back to the Conversation at Hand
I explain to her (for what feels like the millionth time) the importance of listening and staying on track with the conversation. I tell her why we have to conform while we’re out there in the world.That’s what it feels like sometimes.
We have to listen. Not just hear, but listen. I explain to her the difference. We can’t just change the subject to suit us. (especially when we are in trouble) But the other part of my mind, the creative part that is my inner writer, she wants to scream. I don’t want to break her chain of thoughts. They’re beautiful. They’re unique. They’re her own.
Building that Fairy Tale Imagination
So, I’m trying to teach her how to not get in trouble. The world wants us all to conform. She’s unique and different and I just don’t want to break her of being herself. But, the world sees things differently. I’ve been there. I’m different. I don’t think like other people, my brain is wired differently than most (it did have to rewire itself).
She’s got to start observing her surroundings. She needs to learn to sit quietly and watch the world around her. She needs to see how everyone else is behaving. Yet, she also needs to be allowed to be herself. To see the world how she sees it. And to build whatever world she keeps inside of her head. She needs to learn to be quiet and sit with her own thoughts, with her own inner self.
Teaching Life’s Lessons
As parents, we are responsible for teaching them how to behave. All too often we break their spirits, we change the course of their personalities. We don’t mean to. It’s so easy to hand off the broken parts of us. I try to make sure that all the broken little pieces aren’t included.
Children shouldn’t have to be always quiet. They shouldn’t be taught their thoughts don’t matter. Their thoughts are beautiful, they’re innocently amusing at times. Sometimes they’re so deep they appear to by wise beyond their years. And then they run off to be children again.
Writing it Down
That’s when I learned to write. I saw things around me, I wasn’t supposed to talk about them. Grown ups were too busy or interested in something else. They didn’t have time for me. Sad truth of childhood I think. It’s especially true in an economy that requires both parents to be working.
I encouraged her to write things down. To turn an extra composition notebook into a journal. I told her that we can discuss the things in her journal, if she’d like. She can keep a diary, she can write stories, she can draw silly little pictures. Whatever she’s in the mood for.
I’m teaching her some of her life’s lessons, but I don’t want to give her my broken little pieces, and I don’t want her to develop any of her own. Parenting is such a thin line.