Sunday, June 2, 2013

Over Thinking Parenting


Enjoying life.  From Sophia's Special Deliveries in Sonoma County.
As I look back on my former concerns as a mother I have noticed something beautiful.  Most of the things that I once worried about concerning my children's behavior eventually resolved. Some of those old worries include:

-Biting
-Potty training
-Tantrums
-Listening
-Fighting
-Hitting


The list goes on and on and on.  I have probably obsessed, worried, talked about and even prayed about all of the above topics and then some.  One thing that I have noticed as time has gone on though is that many of the things we worry about as parents are very often NOT worthy of our time and emotional energy.

I am on my fourth two year old now.  This is honestly kind of amazing!  I can't believe it.  In a lot of ways I love two year olds.  I find them infinitely more wonderful than the horrid 18 month old.  (The time from mobility to about one and a half is just very not fun with my kids.)

One thing I have noticed on my fourth time around with a toddler is that I don't even have much time to THINK about the above things, much less obsess over them.

I read somewhere recently a mom asking what she should do with her biting toddler.  It made me realize suddenly that I too have a biting toddler!  I honestly hardly even noticed it.  I can't say baby number four is an outrageous biter, but sometimes when she wants something and doesn't get it she has taken to biting at whoever is closest to her.

And you know what?  It doesn't even phase me.  I pull her away and say a firm, "Don't do that.  It HURTS me!  OUCH!  Stop."

That's it.

No obsession.

No wondering if she will in fact become a serial biter.

No midnights waking in a cold sweat worried that she is somehow prison bound because she gets upset and then tries to take a chunk out of another human being whom she loves.

You know why I don't worry about it anymore?

Because eventually kids stop biting.

They also eventually do other things like:

-Potty train (Well, I assume they do.  My almost four year old still seems to not give a crap about that but I now consider this a personality glitch.)

-Stop throwing tantrums (or at least they decrease in size, frequency, and public presence.  Let's be honest, even adults throw tantrums on occasion.  I have seen grown women with grandchildren actually stomp their feet.)

-Stop hitting (OK- this is harder for some kids than others.  But they learn.)

-Fighting (My kids haven't stopped fighting yet but I am a grown up and I can honestly say that my two brothers with whom I spent a good chunk of my life fighting are now two of my most favorite people in the whole freaking world.  So I am pretty sure that sibling relationships can be wonderful and it helps a little if you aren't all competing for the same resources of time/food/love/toys/etc every single day.)

Biting and dirty pants and screaming in the grocery story- they aren't fun things.  We can't just ignore them.  It is important to care about motherhood and parenting.  It is important to want our children to grow up to be wonderful human beings.  But as time has gone on I have realized that many if not most of the things I worry about with my children eventually resolve themselves.

And...I am starting to think that they resolve themselves despite me, not because of me.

The truth is that life, especially the life of a child, is full of stages and phases and growth and change.  This applies to both the GOOD and the BAD.

Let's take biting.  Children are naturally oral when they are born.  They seem to process almost their entire world through their mouth.  They eat constantly, they bring their hands to their mouths.  As time goes on they put everything in their mouth in order to learn about it.

When they get big enough they get teeth and often they will try them out.  This is especially true of toddlers.  Toddlers also discover that the things that THEY do can change the behavior of those around them.

The natural thing to do when this power to impact people collides with a non-verbal yet very oral child is...Yup, you guessed it- BITE.

So many kids will try a few bites.  Not all.  But many.  Some seem to like it more and I am sure that in excessive amounts that biting can be a problem or indicative of something much deeper.

But in most normal children biting is just a phase and it will PASS.  Probably on it's own.

You don't need a parenting book to figure out how to deal with this.  It often deals with itself.

I am of course not a parenting expert.  In fact all proceeds of this blog are put in a special investment fund set aside specifically for my children's future therapy bills and/or flight money so they can travel to various talk shows to chat with abnormally good looking strangers about how their mother sucked.  (Donate today!)

No I am not a parenting expert but I am willing to bet that most of the annoying/worrisome things that your and my children are doing will just pass with time.  The bad news is this is also true with the AWESOME things they do.  Yes, wonderful behavior is a phase too.

So you know what- don't over think everything.  Kids change.  They do annoying stuff and then eventually they stop.  Let them know when it is inappropriate, but try not to lose sleep over it.  Eventually things will change and move on and then change again.  There will always be another challenge.  You know what?  You eventually won't have the time or the emotional energy to waste on something that is going to resolve itself eventually.

The sad thing is that worry and obsession over stuff that doesn't really matter is a waste of time and energy and JOY.  I think I could probably be enjoying so much more than I currently am if I just stepped back and remembered that this too shall pass.

"This too shall pass."  That is one of my favorite phrases of all time and it should be written in needlepoint on every wall of every mother around the world.

Don't over think parenting.  I ruins it.


2 comments:

Jen said...

Probably the best parenting advice I received was don't waste your time and energy solving problems that aren't problems. When a two-year-old acts like a two-year-old, that's not a problem. I guarantee they'll outgrow it by the time they reach high school, and if they don't you can deal with it when it's actually a problem.

JoyBelle said...

Love this!

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