Here’s the truth.
I have been riding Jazmine ever since she was a toddler to get her to be the perfect child. By perfect, I mean obedient. The child that rarely makes mistakes or missteps. The child that ‘gets it’ the first time. The child that is the ideal child at every age and stage. I even prayed that she would be the godliest whatever-age-she-is-at-the-time that she could be.
I am a nut-case.
That was absolutely RIDICULOUS of me! She is a child! Mistakes are what she does! Obedience is the goal but foolishness is truly bound up in the heart of a child. I look back now and see how absolutely foolish I was to make such assumptions. Such unrealistic ‘goals’ (and I use that term loosely) could have severely harmed my girl. But what has Jazmine done in spite of her crazy mother? She has blossomed into a very lovely nine-year old young lady. She is respectful, aims to do her best, and is a delight to those she is around. I am so proud of her and privileged to be her Mommy.
I have a motto in our home. “Mistakes are our tutors. Making mistakes is how we learn and that is correct.” How I could teach this verbally and not have fully destroyed it with bogus expectations is nothing but God’s mercy. I have thrown my parental weight around, domineered, and have applied discipline when I shouldn’t have all with the intention of creating the perfect child.
How absolutely stupid of me.
I was parenting in fear. I didn’t want my child to be ‘that child’. I didn’t want my child to be the child no one wanted to watch. I didn’t want my child to be the one that adults whispered about. I parented out of my fear of being embarrassed by what she might do. What a dope I was.
Does this mean that I should now parent loosey-goosey? Does this mean that I must dial back her chores? Does this mean I should accept work that is not her best? Does this mean I take a backseat and allow her to make her own discoveries and decisions without guidance? Absolutely not!
What this means is the following: 1. I don’t freak out when she forgets to wipe the counter after she fixes her chocolate milk (or any other such oversight). 2. Understand that not wanting to do chores is normal and not an indicator of blatant disrespect. 3. Don’t hound all the faults; some mistakes don’t need to be addressed right then and there.
My expectations that were good and not unrealistic remain. What changes is my response when they are not met.