I had a recent discussion with someone who’d mentioned that their little ones’ personalities were not only developing, but were showing signs of growing up so quickly. They had been warned by another parent that: ‘Bigger kids means bigger problems.’
There’s no doubt that kids don’t come with a handbook (nor do adults, for that matter!) and as a parent of three, I can confirm that they have all challenged my patience at various stages in their lives. It would have been nice if they all posed said personality transitions at the same stages, but noooo no no. That’d be too easy. Mother Nature has a grim sense of humour. ‘You want kids? Here, have three, but they will all test you at different points in their lives.’
For example. My eldest was a dream as a littlie. Perfect. I was blessed and spoiled. Then a glitch at age 10 sprung out from nowhere. That lasted a long and heartbreaking two years. Done and dealt with and she returned to being her dreamy, easygoing self.
Child No2. From the womb until age 3, I was convinced that I had spawned the child of the devil himself. Mother Nature played a cruel trick on me. She led me to believe mother/parenthood would be easy, after child No 1. She’s now a feisty teen, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I do argue with her occasionally (when she’s tested my laissez-faire attitude to the limit) and I have flipped the finger behind her back, as she’s walked away, many, many times. She is however, a typical teen and will grow out of it. Conversely, she can be so lovely and is the sweetest and kindest girl. That’s why I know, she’ll leave this raging hormonal stage.
Child No3? He’s funny, kind and selfless. He does the dumbest things- for example; what possesses him to think it’s a laugh to jump around over rotting floorboards on the top floor of a dilapidated house or light a camp-fire in said house? Boys have a sense of curiosity and adventure which, although I wholeheartedly embrace, does contribute to my greying hair. He’s at the awkward stage of trying to find his place in pre-teen life.
In my experience, I’ve found that bringing kids up with an iron fist in a velvet glove has worked (so far), and it’s more important than ever before, in these times where kids attempt to be the boss of the parents, that my efforts in this belief are put into reality. My brood have pushed the boundaries, and overstepped the mark, they’ve dragged out the inner trap queen in me, as I spout out language and an attitude that shocks them into silence- but it’s their way of testing the water. Every stage has its tests. In all of this, as their mum I have found that being their friend as well as their mentor has gotten us through trying times and potentially irreversible damage. Kids are more inclined to be open and truthful about their experiences and to seek out your help and advice if they’re not afraid to approach you. I’ve lost count of how many parents are shocked and gutted to find out what their kids have been up to, after the event. By then, it’s too late.
My kids have an element of fear with me. They fear ‘bat shit crazy mum’ but they also love ‘fun and open minded’ mum. The mum their friends love to talk to. The silly mum. The easy to talk to mum. My methods may be unconventional to some, but it works for me and my brood. In a crazy, judgmental society we live in, bringing up kids to their full potential and live their best life, is the greatest gift we can give them.
Remember that growing up isn’t easy, and we were young(er) once upon a lifetime ago, so don’t be surprised at anything. The epoch is different, but it’s still kids growing up.
Take care, Eva x