What to do next time your kids roll their eyes at you
As a child I remember that my parents did and said things that made absolutely NO sense to me at the time. For instance:
- My mum would frantically clean the house before we went on holiday. Seriously, why would you do that? We are going away anyway. Now I find myself doing the same and even saying the same thing, ‘It’s nice to come home to a clean house.’
- I remember my mum weeding the garden and dad raking the leaves. And thinking, what a waste of time, they will blow away anyway, get a life! Now I spend most of my time in the garden weeding and raking leaves, mainly because I like it but also because it looks nice.
- Sometimes my dad would wake me up on weekends when the weather was nice, ‘Come on, get up Mette, the weather is so nice outside!’ I used to think, what on earth are you on about, so what, what does the weather have to do with me? This morning I called my 19 year old son at 11am to come outside in the sun with me, on a Sunday!
- My parents used to have the radio on all the time, listening to the radio for ‘local’ music and news. I used to think how sad, put some nice rock or pop on instead of listening to some old bloke talking, what a sad life! Now, I have the radio on all the time and even say ‘Shhh, it’s the news, I just need to hear it!’, just like my mum did.
- And it was always really important that we checked in with mum when we came home from having been out at night. I saw this as really stupid; we are home, you are asleep, all is good. And yet now I tell my kids ALL the time, ‘just knock on my door when you are back’, they ask ‘Why?’ and I say, as my mother did, ‘So I know you are safely home’. They roll their eyes, until they have kids themselves one day!
So, that is just a few things on the list of: ‘what my mum and dad did at the time that made no sense to me’.
And here is the thing, our kids might not ‘get us’ in the here and now but hopefully one day they will look back and think, ‘wow I was actually not being very nice or fair to my mum or dad’.
When one of my sons was 10 years old he said, ‘I will be such a good dad when I grow up’, …‘Ohh how so?’… ‘Well I will be just the opposite of you!’ And we all know that he won’t. He will be just like me and his Dad.
So the next time your kids roll their eyes at you, challenge your requests or question what you do, just remind yourself that this is just what THEY have to do, at the time. They CAN have a reaction to your values, your habits and your way of parenting. They CAN grieve for what you say they can’t have or do. They CAN question your decisions and requests. You can accept this, but that doesn’t mean you have to change or give in. Just be aware and accept it. Till they have kids themselves!
Also, keep the long-term goal in mind. That they will grow into adults (even though they will always be kids to you) and the way you parent now will have an influence on what kind of men and women they develop into. What qualities and skills they will possess, i.e. independence, kindness, respectfulness etc. in their future.
So don’t give up – be strong and be who you NEED to be, not who they think they want you to be!