Yes, we need to support and guide our children, but what happens when they’re teaching us? Well, that’s actually pretty typical. They’re introducing a new element into our lives and our job is to figure out how to guide our children onto the right path (and not pull out our hair in the process). The kids are just being kids. They’re learning too.
I always said as a teacher that I learned more from the students than they learned from me. It sounds like I was a pretty crummy teacher; huh? No, just a really reflective one. It did pay off though; gradually. That’s one of the many side bonuses for teachers. We understand kids. We get to experiment more than the average parent and see what works and for which kinds of kids. Does it answer every question? No. Does it solve every problem? No. But, honestly, by the end of 15-20 years you could pretty much throw any kid in my classroom and I’d be okay. I’m not saying I’d reach them all, but I could manage. Can you say the same?
Teaching prepared me for my biggest challenge in life- my own children. They’re slick. So far, I’m having a blast (though I struggled through the preschool years) because I “get” kids. I’ve heard the lies, I’ve seen the maneuvering they’re willing to do to get their way and honestly, I don’t begrudge them for it. You do it too, as an adult. Don’t we all try to get out of work and responsibility when we can? If I leave the dishes in the sink, maybe my husband will do them. Yes, I still have 10 minutes left of my shift, but if I finish up this task, I won’t have to start a new one. We find ways to be good to ourselves. That’s all kids are trying to do too.
My children are gamers. They didn’t even own a video contraption (besides the tv which pretty much only showed Little Einstein’s and Bob the Builder growing up) until they hit age 8. After that, it kinda’ snowballed. My kids have played sports off and on, but nothing challenged them until they found video games. They will play a game to the death (or until they beat it). Yes, it’s a lot of screen time and I’ve gone back and forth between no video and free for all. I’ve also set time limits, scheduled times and days. I still haven’t found that balance.
Since my oldest is at school all day and my youngest is homeschooled, it’s tricky attempting to even out the time. Summer, on the other hand, is pretty much a free-for-all structure. So, it’s up to me to set boundaries. This summer, I added mandatory outside time and jobs. Two hours a day doesn’t sound like much time outside, but to a kid who will grab a chair and a pile of books and read in the sun to serve his time, it’s work. The reading is the fun part. I never have to force my kids to read. That they do on their own, but play…well, that’s a tricky one.
I usually stay up much later than my kids (yes, even in the summer). I’m a night owl and they’re off video by 8:30, so I guess they figure they’ll just go to bed. In the morning, my husband will watch some tv with them, but mom is usually the one holding the video hostage. If it’s not locked up, my youngest can’t resist. He’s getting better, but he doesn’t need the temptation. But, when morning comes…..
I’m usually asleep and until I get up, they’re stuck. Sometimes they’ll play with their Legos or just casually stomp around hoping to wake me up. Once I’m up, I’ll mention the outside time/hygiene even before I’ll consider video. Of course, kids have a way of getting around us. Mine have taken to camping out on the porch even before I wake up. Then the trick is, how do you prove you were outside? Yes, all kids lie. Definitely mine are no different. I don’t believe that they’re outside, but they’re getting their stories straight before reporting to me and yes, they’re alleviating my uncertainties; so for now…they win.
Today, I asked about the jobs they didn’t do yesterday-thinking I had them snagged. Unfortunately for me, they got around me yet again. I gave them a stack of jobs they could choose from varying in difficulty and applicability to the day’s events. Oh yeah, and I added 1 “skip card” per week. Don’t you know they played that card?
So, for now, Splatoon is my life. Until I finish this post and bargain myself some reading in the pool time.
Then, I win.