Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Raising "Nice"

Recently I was told by a wise person, that it's not enough as a parent to just try every day. You need big overall plans. For example, you need to know how you are facilitating or helping them to find their passions. Know how you are helping them to develop self-esteem. Know how you are helping to stimulate both sides of their brains (e.g. language and music or math and art). BIG plans.

Here's my question of the day: How do you facilitate being a "good" person without compromising their independence, spirit, fire, self-worth/control, etc.

So much time is spent in our youth dedicated to learning how to be a "good" person. How to "share". How to "give". Be it love, stuff, information. All to be done nicely. If you are good at it, then you are usually praised. When was the course on having and developing appropriate boundaries? The course teaching, that if no progress is being made, your help isn't really helping someone? The course on how to effectively stick up for yourself? As a parent, I think that might be my job now. This scares me, because I'm still developing these skills myself.

Jude has boundaries with his peers. I've never seen him hit/bite/etc first. I watch him like a hawk (not just because I'm obsessive and want him to be safe, but also because I just LOVE to watch him and don't want to miss moments) and he's never been the aggressor (YET!). BUT, if a child (who is bigger than him, he's NEVER touched a smaller child except to kiss em) pushes/hits/etc more than 2x's, he will usually give a fair and loud "NO!". After that, he will resort to punishment. I don't look at it as him being vindictive as much as "I need to stop this before it goes too far. Just cause I'm nice, I'm no pushover."

I think he's right (considering his age and inability to explain his position on the matter). I have this fear that I'm going to ruin this strength with my "nice" talk. If I could go back in my life, I would be a lot less nice and a lot more secure with disappointing people by inflicting sensible boundaries. I am also aware that Jude and I are very different people. He's obviously much wiser.

It's a scary thing being a very faulted person and being a parent.


Jillienne said...

No advice but I do have total understanding. It is such a fine line between being "nice" and sticking up for ourselves and if we as adults/parents have a hard time with it, how can we hope to teach it to our children.
If you learn the trick please share!

Little Ethiopia(n) said...

Oh I feel you...we have so many hopes on what we want to teach our future-kids but we haven't really figured out HOW to do it yet. We told our Social Worker we wanted our kids to grow up questioning things--to not just adopt a belief or position because it was in the paper, or because a teacher (or parent) said it was true--to investigate and figure out what they believe is the truth. She thought this was great and then asked us how we intended to teach this. hmmmm...we hadn't really thought about THAT. Gotta make a Big Plan. As for how to teach them to be both nice to others and strong for themselves... that's a whole 'nother comment/blog/therapy session. But I think simply by worrying and asking the questions you are already doing a good job.

Anonymous said...

Thought about you guys all day yesterday...Happy One Year with Judah!! What an amazing year! I feel so blessed to have him in my life (and you and Tommy of course). Thanks for bringing him into my life. LOVE YOU!