Yesterday I saw one of my favorite moms. She’s a great, dedicated mom who works very hard with her two boys. Her oldest boy has some significant problems, but he keeps progressing and is on most days her “easy” one. His little brother is very bright, doing great, and tends to drive her nuts. Because he is bright and still a little guy, he still does little kid things that get her; and more often than not, they are designed to do exactly that–get her attention. If asked the following questions, her answers would all be “yes”: Is he smart? Yes. Is he a nice kid? Yes. Is he a good kid? Yes. Is he a sweet kid? Yes. Then why should such a child drive her nuts? If he were her best friend’s boy, and not hers, she would love being around him and he wouldn’t drive her to distraction.
Parents, sometimes you need to take a step back and look at your kids through some new eyes and gain a little perspective. Most of us as parents take our jobs seriously, and often that means we try to give our children feedback on everything they do, all of the time, and particularly, anything and everything they do wrong. It is sadly all too easy to ignore all those things they do right.
Imagine how you would treat your best friend’s child. Your best friend is important to you, and if you were to have their child with you for a day, they would be important to you as well; and so you would want to protect them, take care of them, and give them good feedback. If during your watch they were to do something dangerous or harmful, you would give them feedback; but if they were doing little irritating things, you most likely wouldn’t even particularly notice and very likely wouldn’t comment if you did. You wouldn’t want your remarks and “helpful” input to be perceived as picking on them. You wouldn’t want them to go home and report to their mother that you don’t like them and that you were mean, and that being at your house wasn’t fun. But is it really okay or helpful to be on your own kids all of the time? No, it isn’t.
Most of the time we would all be better off treating our own kids as if they were “your best friend’s boy.” Nagging isn’t providing quality feedback, and getting on them all of the time is not quality feedback. Nagging just creates a negative environment, destroys your credibility, and makes your child wish he or she were someplace else.
He’s my best friend’s boy.
What do you think?