There are times – and I think it’s more now that my kids are older than when they were younger – when parents have to make a decision and the outcome is an unhappy child. We know what call they want – but it’s not a popularity contest, so sometimes they’re just not happy.
Over the last two weeks, I’ve run afoul of expectations of both of my girls. While I can see their point of view on the issues in question – I’m comfortable with my thought process and decisions.
When the girls were way younger a temper tantrum would ensue, and that would be over quickly once they realized the low impact it had on me. In the tween years, there would be a more sustained protest, perhaps even an attempt to argue.
But in the mid-to-late teen years – there’s a whole different approach, I’m not sure if its intentional or not – but now I deal with passive aggressive, displaced anger and the occasional dirty look.
But the lesson I learned probably the day 17.0 came home from the hospital in Boston – its called parenting. It’s not a popularity content.
It would be great for my kids to applaud every decision and I’d love to be hailed as a hero every time I say, “No” to something. At least in my house, that’s just not the way it works.
So, I’ll deal with a few dirty stairs and try not to laugh when one takes out their anger on the other knowing it’s aimed at me. I’m a parent, not a politician – and it’s not a popularity contest.
I recently had a chance to reconnect with some friends from my high school years. This was not the first time we’ve gathered up, in fact one of the few upsides of Facebook is that you can reconnect with old parts of your life, and its a pleasure. But as each of the 12 people around the table took out their phones to show off pictures of their kids I had to wonder if we’ve collectively gotten older and wiser or just plain older?
It’s not that I am not proud of my kids. I am. It’s not that I don’t want to show off my kids. I do. But the image of 12 mid-to-late 40 somethings sitting around a table exchanging phones was a deja vu moment-I can almost envision my mother (or even grandmother) pulling pictures out of their purse to show to their friends.
I’ve become a parent.
Now, I’ve been a parent for 13 years. But now I’ve joined the club. And somewhere the answer lies, older and wiser or just plain older? The good news is I have a few more years to think about that.