July 11, 2013

My Son is Crying Because...

As I type wails emanate from my child's bedroom down the hall.

Why? For the simple reason that when he was told to put away some CDs a few days ago, he didn't put papers & discs back in boxes, just unloaded the stack of flotsam on top of the toy workbench in our living room. I decided to put them out of reach for a while. He's not allowed to listen to those particular CDs for today.

This is, apparently, worthy of bewailed "Nooo..... noooo....." laments interspersed with sobs.

If you haven't visited Reasons My Son is Crying on Tumblr, I strongly encourage you to. It is a breathtakingly honest window into parenting. Makes you rethink critiques about parents who "make" or "let" their children cry in public, doesn't it?

The last few days have been rough ones. Some private, difficult news for the grown-ups that wasn't appropriate to dump on the kids means split-personality sorts of days. Trying to sort through thoughts and emotions privately, but not let it change the kids' routine or more interactions with them than I can help.

Parenting means being the grown-up, even when everyone around you gets to be immature. Consider it the grad school of peer group interactions.

It means being patient and self-sacrificing without pointing out how good you are at being patient and self-sacrificing.

It means deciding in a split second what the wise response is, whether your small son exposes himself in public or your daughter accosts an elderly man about how she "could hear you better if you take those things out of your ears!" Intervene, enforce kindness, modesty, courtesy, generosity--and do it calmly, patiently, and generously yourself.

Speaking of which, I need a bit of a time-out myself. In my current frame of mind, I'm having a hard time feeling any sort of sympathy for my son, still crying because he only gets to listen to one Glee CD instead of four.

Before I try to restore my son's sense of proportion, I need to restore some of my own.

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