Growing, Not Dying

Welcome to my insights, ponderings, and experiences. Hopefully they will enrich you in some small way, or at least make you laugh.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Only Young Once...or Never

Some people comment I expect too much of my kids, I am too hard on them (mostly family.) Personally, I never saw anything wrong with expecting proper behavior and manners, raising them with higher expectation. A Saturday evening stroll has given me cause to think. I was pushing the stroller down to meet Jim at a neice's birthday party. He had gone ahead with the other kids while Baby finished her nap. As we walked I noticed my little 4 year old neighbor "washing " his bike while Daddy unloaded camping equipment from the van. It was very cute. He discovered by aiming the hose just right he could make the pedal spin really fast. He sqealed with delight.

I imagined one of my own children doing the exact same activity. I could feel the frustration of the site filling my being. "What are you doing? You'll ruin your bike. If it stays wet it will rust, not to mention now we have to regrease the chain. You want to take good care of your bike, don't you? On top of all that, you aren't even suppose to be playing in the hose! Please, go turn off the hose right now and dry the bike off." Yet, it was cute watching my neighbor proudly making his pedal spin. So what if the bike gets wet? It's part of being young.

I use to ask my mom to "tell me about when I was little." She always responded I never was little. I was walking and talking at 9 months. Potty trained and using full sentences at 11 months. My older sister said it was "creepy" to see a baby so small doing stuff like that. I remember feeling like I should be treated differently. I was not a common "child." Oddly, I had forgotten most all this until the walk really brought it home.

Our oldest is 7 now. He walked at 9 months, and was talking by a year. He has that same attitude that regular rules don't apply to him. He engages in very little "age appropriate" behavior. The biggest difference between he and I is that I excelled at school and was very socially versatile. Although he is incredibly brilliant one more citation for behavior and he will be suspended from school and he cannot seem to make and keep friends. I am often at a loss as to how to help him. Because he acts like he wants to be so much older I waffle between demanding more of him and allowing him no freedoms, thus trying to create a lack of independance.

Now, I don't want you to think my kids are tortured or anything. They are quite happy and fairly well adjusted. This thinking just reflects an insight that I had on how I could be doing better. Somehow I must begin to seek the balance between allowing the innocence of youth, encouraging the growth of independance, and defining the social expectations of behavior. I mean really, is it that important that a 2 year old know to say 'excuse me' before walking in front of someone if the cost is of that bubbly spontaneous joy as they rush to some new discovery. There must be a way to blend. I intend to start finding it.


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