Monday, September 10, 2012

How to put your Pants on

For a brief moment this week, the temperature finally dropped below a gazillion degrees. This is important because it means I can once again take the boys outside after naptime.  The 3:30 to 5 p.m. hour is always a little touch and go.  The ability to take the boys outside makes for a much easier day. 
While we were outside, Glenn told me he needed to go pee.   Like any other father, I pointed out the tree around the corner and told him to go to town.  A few moments, later I heard him crying for help.  He comes waddling around the corner, pants around his ankles, asking me to pull up his pants.   It was the perfect opportunity to share a life lesson. 

“Glenn, if you take your pants down, then no one else is going to pull them up for you.” 
And after a bit of struggling, he did manage to get himself together. 

I think of myself as “base” in the game of tag.  I’m a safe spot, we can talk about what just happened, but if you want to have more fun, you’re going to need to take chances.   As they grow older, they should become more and more confidant, needing to come back to base less and less.  It’s important for them to feel loved and safe or, when they turn 15, you won’t be seeing them for some time. 

As their emotional base, I try to, more than anything, just to identify their emotions.  I say things like; “You look upset. What made you sad? That would bother me too.” 
Alas, they are both still very young, and when they struggle or get upset, it will just deteriorate into outright screaming.   Usually, here I use the “non-time out-time out,” which sounds something like this. 
“Listen Glenn, I can tell you’re upset, and it is ok to be mad, but if you’re going to sit there and scream like an ass, then you need to go to your room, until you calm down.”
Tammi and I believe fully in making our children struggle.  If today, I’m pulling up his pants, tomorrow I’m completing his English homework.  Then, before you know it, I’m on the phone with his parole officer.

Life is hard, and it’s meant to be.  If we protect our children from every hardship, we are not doing them any favors.  The more they can struggle under our supervision, the better they will be prepared to face challenges in adulthood. 

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