Thursday, April 1, 2010

Let Them Be Little

I can't tell you how many times I've heard comments about how people are going to treat their kids like little adults. That they'll severely punish their children if they so much as point at something in the store and squeak out a soft "I want that". Or that "My kids won't ever sleep in my bed. I don't care if they are sick or scared."

Is there something terribly wrong about giving your children responsibility? No. Is there anything wrong with teaching them not to nag and ask for every little thing that they say in the store? No. Is there anything wrong with teaching your children that your bed is yours and their bed is theirs? No.

So why the post?

While children might learn not to ask for things.... while they might understand that they have their own room that belongs to them and that's where they sleep every night... while they may learn self control quicker than someone else's kid and might SEEM like a miniature adult to you when it comes to vocabulary and the way they act.... they are little.

It seems like they're little for such a long time. It seems like they just won't ever grow up. It seems like they'll always need you. But that's not the case. They're only little for a little while. They need to know that it's ok to be kids. They need to know that you love them. They need to know that mommy and daddy are there for them. Once in a while they're gonna want to sleep in bed with you. Whether the reason is a thunderstorm or the flu. Or maybe a bad dream. When they hear you tell them NO they might not really give a rats behind the first 50 times. You might have to tell them "Not today" several times pushing the cart through Walmart.

Kids are kids. They are not little adults. They are little people yes. Adults no. If they were born adults then what the heck would they need us for. If it was as simple as saying "When I have kids they're going to do what I say the first time I say it and I won't ever have to tell them again" then I know a LOT of people who would be pretty ticked off that they didn't figure out that parenting method from the get go.

We are here to teach them how to grow. We guide them in the right direction. We give them the tools that they need to be adults. To be teenagers. To be children. Praise them for being who they are and never expect more out of them than you know they're completely capable of. But don't always be disappointed in them if they don't meet your expectations. Sometimes they might try and fail... but that's never as bad as failing to try.

So let your little girl be daddy's princess. Let your little boy play with GI Joes. Heck, let your little GIRL play with GI Joes too if she wants. Fight off the monsters of their nightmares for a while, until they realize that that's all they are... nightmares. Not real. Let them know you're proud of them for who they are. Not just for what they do. Let them be little.

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