Swiper the Fox

So for some time now my son has had a little nickname that we have given him of Swiper.  This derived from a character on Dora the Explorer who takes things from people.  Liam on a somewhat regular basis tries to swipe any lingering desserts on the table.  Ava has fell victim to this many times as she doesn’t eat them as quickly as he does.

A few nights ago in the madness of what I call dinnertime I was cleaning up in the kitchen when Liam said, ” Look Ava I am having the last bite of ice cream,” as he scooped up the last bite and put it in his mouth.  Irritated I slammed my hand down on the counter and yelled, “Liam!”  I couldn’t believe he did it again.  He stole Ava’s last bite of ice cream and was taunting her about it again.  Liam froze, his eyes bulging out at me.  He finally in a shaky voice replied, “Mommy this was my ice cream.”  Now I froze completely stunned.  I quickly replayed in my head the last five minutes of dinner and to my horror realized Ava had an ice pop and Liam had ice cream, he indeed did not steal her dessert.  Complete and utter remorse and self-deprecation washed over me.  At this point Liam’s lower lip was quivering and I felt horrible.  I quickly rushed to him and scooped him up in my lap.  I apologized profusely to him and tried to explain to him why I jumped to the conclusion I had.  As he calmed down in my arms a heavy albatross grew around my neck.

A little while later while Will and I were finishing cleaning up the kitchen I was discussing my plans for our garden and how we needed to go to Lowes the next day to pick up some materials.  Liam interjected into the conversation how he wanted to be with me tomorrow and just me for some mommy and Liam time.  My heart melted and I felt a little better about what had passed thinking that he had forgiven me.  Will and I quickly came up with an idea that when we got to Lowes we would split up, so Will would take Ava and I would take Liam to pick up the items.

The next day Liam, Ava, and I got in the car to meet Will at Lowes after he got out of school.  As we were pulling out of the driveway Liam said, “Now remember Ava you will go with daddy and I am going to go with mommy.”  Ava said, “No why don’t we all go together.”  Liam said, “No we can’t. I have to make mommy feel better about her mistake.” That is when my ears perked up.  Mistake, what mistake?  Today had been a relatively low conflict day.  “Liam what mistake did I make?” I asked.  “Remember yesterday mommy when you yelled at me because you thought I stole Ava’s dessert.  I knew you felt bad and you were hurting so I wanted to make it better.”

12305814_10208286065415264_490324964_nI could not believe what I was hearing.  For a moment I was completely shocked, but I had to shake myself out of that as we were driving down the road.  I was in awe on how insightful and thoughtful and empathetic Liam had been.  Even now as I type this out it astonishes me how forgiving and loving he was.  It’s unbelievable how sometimes the littlest actions, the simplest words can have the most profound impact.  Liam in that split second reminded me on how as wonderful and great, grand gestures are sometimes, it’s the purest, smallest moments that can have the lasting effect.

 

 

 

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The Helicopter Parent the New Species of Parents

Helicopter Parents: Are they helping or hurting our children? By definition this is a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children.   Having seen it first hand prior to ever having children I hoped and prayed that I would not become one of those parents.  I remember vividly watching one mother scoot around her kid as he spun in circles to make sure he would not fall.  In my head I remember thinking this is crazy.  Now I would in no way want that child, my child, or any child to get hurt, however there is an important lesson that is being skipped over if we never let them fall.  We are not teaching our kids how to pick themselves back up.  Sure there are tears and moments to comfort but if we never let our kids fall then they never learn how to cope and move on.  I feel as kids get older this snowballs into bigger issues then just falling down and getting hurt.

We all want the best for our kids and for them to be happy. No one would ever intentionally put their children in harms way. However, when we remove all conflict from our young children’s lives we are also stripping them from valuable problem solving skills.  Kids no longer know how to take responsibility for anything.  I remember this becoming a new discussion when I was in college as a professor once retold a story of a parent calling him to excuse their son from the paper that was due because their son was not feeling well.  It seems ridiculous but it happens all the time.  When our children are not given the chance to be held to a certain standard they do not know how to stand on their own two feet.  This is quite concerning to me. As a society we are grooming children who someday will become adults and who have no accountability.  How are these children every going to become successful?  I believe it’s quite true that failure spurs success.  Without ever failing there is nothing to motivate you to move forward.  There needs to be conflict at times in our lives so that we can strive for something better.

I also think that when we are too overprotective of our children we are taking away a small part of pride for them. Deep down we all want to do well. When we become so involved with our children’s life that they are never given the chance to struggle with something, they can never feel pride in accomplishing anything. Liam loves to do puzzles and at times he gets very frustrated.   When he has a hard time putting it together, I simply offer some encouragement for him to continue trying and he finishes it on his own. The smile of success on his face says it all. This might seem small but it all builds up. Small problems as children will translate to big problems as adults. Small accomplishments as kids equal big payouts as adults. Allowing our kids to work it out not only helps them internally but also someday working it out with people. I am not suggesting never lending a hand or letting our children get into danger but the next time your son or daughter is struggling. Take a step back and let them work at it. Your not only helping them now but also for their future.