I remember holding my infant for the first time and gazing down at her sweet, trusting, innocent little face and wishing that she’d never, ever have to know bullying, sadness, or any of the horrors that the world contains. I wished for a moment that the worst she’d ever know would be a mild hunger twinge as I prepared her bottle or a slightly damp tush as I hurried to get a clean diaper.
And then I remembered a boyfriend’s mom who had been overly sheltered as a child and who was completely unable to handle all the world threw at her. I had felt nothing but pity for this woman who couldn’t even handle changing a light-bulb or buying an answering machine without requiring the assistance of her entire family. (You think I’m kidding don’t you?)
In my opinion offense being the best defense, I vowed to make my daughters strong and resourceful instead of overly sheltering them. While we don’t actively set them up in challenging situations, we also don’t rush to their rescue before coming to their aid, which is a much easier policy to uphold when dealing with putting on their own shoes or learning to wash their own hands than it is when facing really difficult issues.
As grown-ups we find it hard to see issues through a younger child’s lens, so when C came home complaining of a boy who was being mean to her, I instantly jumped to a “the big bully needs to be dealt with” mama bear stance.
I listened to my gut though, and before coaching her on tattling to the teacher, setting up a meeting with the parents, and alerting the media, I paused.
“Why do you think he might be acting this way in school?” I asked her.
Her response floored me. She thought back to when she feels mean, and wondered out loud if maybe he was hungry or tired at the end of the day.
And then she offered to bring him a snack.
It was a tiny incident that amounted to nothing, but it taught me a valuable lesson. When the “big” issues come up, we tend to want to deal with them with our big adult answers because we see them through our big adult eyes. Kids don’t always need the big answer, sometimes it pays to stop and see what level they’re at before answering.
So, the answer to ‘where do babies come from?” really can be “a mommy’s tummy.” And the answer to “why do I still have to wear GoodNites at night?” might just be “because your body isn’t ready to stop yet.” Issues don’t have to be broached in their entirety in one sitting. The really big topics need to be covered in tiny morsels, so that they don’t become a bigger deal than they need to be.
This post is part of a series of posts sponsored and inspired by GoodNites®. Stay tuned as we discuss great products and tips to get you through the ups and downs of parenting preschoolers and nighttime accidents. In the meantime, check out the NiteLite™ Panel, hosted by GoodNites®, where professionals share more information about bedwetting.
I am a GoodNites® Blogger Ambassador and I am being compensated for this series of posts, but, as always, the stories, thoughts, and opinions featured in these posts are mine and mine alone.