In kids I trust

… at least a lot more than I used to. I will continue to nurture that trust. Where does the distrust come from in the first place, I wonder? Society? All that garbage people say? (“They’re ‘just’ kids … Give ‘em an inch, they’ll take a mile …  Kids need tons of reminders …” etc.)

Or is it that as adults, we forget what it’s like to be learning and figuring out the world for the first time? And so when our kids make one mistake, or take several tries to get something right, we assume they can’t be trusted.

I’m finding again and again that it’s simply not true. But still I have to actively remind myself, even as my girls remind me over and over again:

Charlotte skipped school yesterday. She woke up an hour late and said, “It’s too embarrassing! I’m staying home today.” The voice in my head started right away: What will people think? What if she does this again tomorrow? What if she enjoys staying home so much that she never goes to school again?!

Shhhhhhh, I said to the voice. And then I said to Charlotte, “Ok. I have to go to work now. I have my cell phone, and you can walk over to Nana and Papa’s whenever you’d like.” We agreed that TV and computer would be off limits for the day (in big picture terms, no school = no job = no $ = no electronics, which they totally get).

“Bye, have a good day, “ I said and kissed her forehead. “Bye, mom,” she said softly. She wasn’t upset, but I could see and feel her disappointment in herself. No need to rub it in, she was doing that all on her own.

She actually did have a good day though. She played with the dogs. She did an art project with Nana. And then guess what she did today? She got up extra early and went to school. Go figure.

On top of that, on the way in to school I put on the brakes, gave Ellen a look of concern in the rearview mirror and said, “Do you know that we’re not going home today before the birthday party?” I let the car roll to a stop, fully expecting a panicked response from the back seat. But what I heard instead was, “Oh, yeah, mom. Here’s the present, and I have the thing I need and I brought the other thing too, and I remembered the …” etc.

I started the car going again and tried not to look surprised.

Why was I surprised? Why wouldn’t she have all her stuff? Like I said — trust. I’ll keep working on it.

Explore posts in the same categories: Weeks following: Miscellaneous

4 Comments on “In kids I trust”

  1. KJ Says:

    Fantastic! I am pushing rob towards a do nothing say nothing week. And I did that play it out thing today too. Lily had a massive temper tantrum and I had all these internal reactions…and I did nothing.

    • flockmother Says:

      Awesome. Who knew that doing nothing could have such impact? We should totally have lunch sometime–maybe after your big week!

  2. annie Says:

    what is the recommended suggestion for situations like this when there is no luxury of backup childcare? Both my husband & I work… and there are no grandparents to fall back on. In a way, school is our childcare.

    • flockmother Says:

      Those details have to be worked out within each family. Everyone’s different with different situations and different ideas about when kids can be left alone, etc. If you keep the big picture goals clearly in mind (foster independence & take care of the relationship) then you can take whatever approach works for you with a positive tone and attitude. Even if you do something like physically carry your child to the car, if you do it with a firm and kind attitude then that will make all the difference.


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