Reading and writing the posts about Ditching and remembering some of the crap that I had to deal with as a kid mades me realize that it must have not been easy for my parents having three. I only have two and my oldest is only 12 at this point. I am SO not looking forward to the next 9 years or so until Gillian’s 18.
So I’m sitting here thinking about it, and several things come to mind that I am doing right. I was at the store tonight and the guy behind me was just letting his 3-5 yr old son scream his bloody head off. And just smiled and shrugged his shoulders. I’m sitting in bed “watching” the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” and every 5-10 seconds realize that I am doing so much right. Yeah, I know. My wife is the reality tv addict. Dunno why she watches some of this crap, but I’m not really watching. Not until they say something so over the top or the kids start screaming over and over.
Anyway. So what am I doing? I can tell you I do plenty wrong. That being said, the main thing I try to focus on is making sure that they see me (and Fae) as being consistent. Kids are all about pushing boundaries. Not to be obnoxious – tho some parents do let it get to that point – but because they’re kids. They need to push a bit here and there to not only see what it’s like, but see what the reaction will be, and to learn where the line is. I also think it teaches them that if something is particularly important, and they do feel the need to push harder or farther, that they do it for a good reason. I’m getting to the point with Aidan, and Gillian to a lesser extent, that when I think the argument or the point is made, he’s coming back with “Can I say something” and begin his argument from another tack – not begin to yell or be beligerent or angry. He’s forming his own opinions of things, and in a different way than before, pushing different boundaries. It’s frustrating at times because sometimes he makes NO sense whatsoever, but he’s exercising that ‘muscle’ in a safe enviornment and seeing the right and wrong of his approach so he can do it again with his friends. Lets face it. Being 12 is NOT easy. Especially with all the hormones.
It’s healthy. Gillian is going to be a lot more passionate about things, mostly because she’s Gillian. Aidan has opinions about things and will open his mouth and say something if he’s excited or upset, which is 1000 x further along than I was when I was his age. I had the slickest shoulders that things would roll right off of without me having to deal with shit. Something’s bugging him, he’ll wait, but he’ll definitely say something where I definitely wouldn’t. Nice mix of Fae and I.
I think as parents we use what we saw and learned growing up as a guide. Of what to do, and what not to do, in equal measure. There are things that my parents did REALLY well, and other that they didn’t. At least in my opinion. There’s the same thing for Fae’s parents. I think it’s important to be partners with your spouse, to look collectively at what they learned to do and not do, and formulate a plan and STICK TO IT! I see WAY too many people put up a united front against a particular issue, and all the kid has to do is wait it out and they’ll crumble eventually. If I say I’m going to do A, if you do B. You can bet your ass I’m gonna do A, and you’re going to remember what happens and not do B again.
The biggest piece of advice I can share about being a father is this. Be friends with your partner, always put up a united front, don’t contradict each other, and have a PLAN. So many problems are caused because Spouse 1 thinks B is okay, and Spouse 2 thinks they must be smoking crack because 1 should know that 2 doesn’t think that and so on and then the fight happens in front of the kids, etc.
Anyway, that’s my ramble for the night. Goodnight internet.