Four years of life is apparently all it takes to nail the art of RBF (Resting Bitch Face). Four years. That is not a long time. She hasn't even been on earth long enough to learn to tie her own shoes without assistance, but my god has she figured out how to look at everyone like they're idiots and a huge waste of her time. Now don't get me wrong, my daughter is beautiful and caring and all of those other great things. But I'm also pretty sure her lady balls are bigger than the average four year old. But she's always been that way. I'm pretty sure when the obstetrician pulled her out from the depths of my womb she looked at him like he'd caused her a huge disturbance. Which is fair enough really, he was a dingus.
Her personality is 10/10 awesome. It really is. But it's trialling. She will NOT be pushed around. Things are done on HER terms. And just as a general rule, she probably doesn't like you (at least that's what she wants you to think). So you see my dilemma! Because some of these things are actually EXCELLENT qualities. When she reaches her teenage years I'm going to be laughing because every boy will be too frightened to go near her and good luck to anybody who tries to pressure her into anything she doesn't want to do. So hurrah for that!
My seven year old on the other hand is pretty much the opposite of his little sister. He's like a wise, gentle 80 year old man in a little boys body. Everybody he meets is his best friend and his general conversation is most people's '2am solving the problems of the world drunk talk'. All GREAT things. I mean, he’ll talk your face off but we both have that in common so it's fine. But what about as he gets older? Will these qualities I love so much become a problem as he gets pushed around the playground? So far he doesn't even realise when he's getting picked on. But what about when he does?
Ugh, nobody handed me a pamphlet on this when I left the hospital.
So how do I balance encouraging them and disciplining them without crushing who they are? I put myself in their shoes. I imagine somebody trying to tell me to be somebody that I'm not. I imagine somebody getting mad at me for not doing something I'm not comfortable with. My little girl for example, is very wary. She doesn't warm to people instantly and she will NOT hug you if she doesn't want to. And if I wanted to, I could force her to hug every friend and every relative that we come across. But what does that teach her? 'If you don't feel comfortable with somebody touching you, well too bad it's polite'? I think we get used to raising our children in a particular way and forget that they're actually smarter then we give them credit for.
You know those times where you just can't control your emotions? Everything becomes too much, Aunty Flow is knocking on your door with a real bitchy tone (because that's the kind of gal she is) and you just LOSE IT. I'm going to raise my hand right now and admit to losing it sometimes. There are times when I act like the child. And I've well and truly been on this earth long enough to learn how to control my emotions. My children on the other hand have had VERY little experience in dealing with their own emotions. Some of the feelings they experience, they are experiencing for the first time! How confusing! It's no wonder they crack it. And it's so easy to punish them and get frustrated when they do. I am definitely guilty of it and I'd be surprised if there is a parent out there who isn't. But I am trying my butt cheeks off to try and be more patient and more aware of what they're experiencing. Ugh, it's hard! But just by simply being conscience of what they are experiencing you can change your own attitude about the situation.
These little people that we are given the responsibility of raising, loving and keeping alive are completely their own person. I have to remind myself of this daily. They are here to teach me as much (if not more) then I am to teach them. So maybe we need to be more honest with them. Talk to them about their personalities, help them understand who they are and what makes them so special. Discuss with them their strengths and their weaknesses. Help them understand what they're feeling and why they may be feeling particular emotions. Nobody is perfect, and part of growing up is learning about yourself and your qualities. So why wait until they're an angst teenager struggling to figure out who they are? Do it now! Tell them about your own qualities, the good and the bad. Tell them that sometimes you find it hard to understand how you're feeling as well. Explain to them the conscience effort you make everyday to better yourself. How you use certain qualities to your advantage and others you need to be more wary of.
Help them realise there is no comparison.
They are the only them.
Your job is to help them make the most of it.
In teaching our children about themselves and helping them understand who they are and how their emotions work we really are teaching ourselves just as much. Yes, my little girl may have been born with a RBF that most people take years to nail, but it's not learnt- that's just who she is. The same goes for my big boy. Hell, the same goes for me as well! And my husband, and every person on this earth! Let's all cut each other some slack and realise we're all on the same mission to figure it all out. Our job as parents is to love, nurture and guide these little individuals to fulfil their purpose. Our advantage is that we have the extra years of wisdom, experience and hindsight to help them figure out what that purpose is. And their advantage is they don't bloody make it easy.