Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lessons Learned


I wonder who teaches children it's okay to be cruel. I wonder who teaches children that being mean is acceptable. And I wonder who takes the ultimate responsibility for all the negative crap that children are exposed to.


David & I are working very hard to ensure that Erin is a nice person. We definitely don't believe in original sin but know that children can say/do hurtful things. It's not always easy to do the right thing, & G-d knows that I certainly don't get there 100% of the time. I've always said that I'm not perfect nor do I want to be. However, when it comes to my daughter I try pretty darn hard.


Last night we had a situation with Erin that pretty much shocked me. David always puts Erin to bed. We have a routine that works quite well for us. Erin gives me night-night hugs, gets her pill & a drink, gives me another hug, asks me when I'm going to sleep, hugs me one more time & goes into her room for some time with Daddy. Last night David came storming out & told me that I needed to take care of Erin because he was too ticked. Since this has happened maybe 3 times in 4 years I asked him what happened.


WELL!!!! It seems that David was talking with Erin & told her that when she turns 6, she will have to start walking because we won't be carrying her anymore. He told her that this was happening because she's a big girl & getting bigger. Apparently, Erin took this very negatively & told David that he was "too darn fat." (Yes. You can pick your jaw up off the floor. She truly did.)


When I went into her room to chat, she was already hysterical because she knew that she had done bad. The usual response is that Erin will tell you she doesn't know why she said what she said. I explained to her that we cannot say things that are hurtful or rude because we don't want to give someone a sad heart & make them cry. Lately, I've had to remind her that there is NOTHING she can do that will make us stop loving her, send her back to China or leave her alone. I reminded her that we want to be her mommy & daddy & even flew all the way to China so we could have that job. Since Erin is in Hebrew School Sunday mornings, I know that my friend Karen is teaching the class all about mitzvot (G-d's commandments). I asked Erin if Miss Karen had taught about mitzvot yet (knowing full well that it's an integral part of the curriculum) & she said yes. I asked her if what she said to her daddy was doing a mitzvah or not. Needless to say, she knew the answer.


I told her that she was right. Daddy & I are fat. However, that is not a nice thing to say to anyone. When we finished our conversation, Erin went out to David & told him that she was sorry she made his heart sad.


She seems to understand what I was saying & was quite upset over having hurt her daddy's feelings. Hopefully, we won't have this chat again soon.



11 comments:

Sandra said...

Oh Tammie - situations like these are so hard. Who ever said parenting is easy? I am sure Erin will be thinking about what happened for a while to come...

Life with JJ, Starr and Spice said...

When children are young they are not capable of seeing our physical being; they just see their mommy's and daddy's as true love. Then they become tainted by the outside world and cruelty. It is truly a hard developmental step for them and for us. Tammie; I think you handled it beautifully and believe me your daughter is a smart and caring girl. She got it and she will not intentionally hurt you both again. Now remeber, I said intentionally as she will continue to make mistakes and you will be the wonderful mother that you are and be there to guide the way.

Huge hugs!
Lori

Vivian M said...

Aww...it sounds to me like Erin is not ready to give up being carried!
I think you handled it very well. You are both great parents, and I am sure there will be many more life lessons along the way.
I am glad David walked away instead of reacting in front of Erin, sometimes that is hard to do.

Magi said...

I think you handled this beautifully. Growing up is so hard on them and us!

PIPO said...

It sounds like Erin has really thought over how her words can hurt. It is worth it all if learning takes place.

You're doing your part well!

fricke92 said...

Ugh, don't you hate these moments. Sounds like you handled it well. We struggle with respect in our household and getting the kids to understand that home is the one place you should feel safe from ugly words (even by your bother/sister).

My friend, I fear we have more of these rough moments ahead of us as the kids get older and test the limits.

Lisa said...

Aw, Tam, you handled this beautifully. I'm sure Erin will always remember your words in the back of her mind if she even thinks of saying something like this again. I've often wondered how I will handle this same situation, as I'm most sure it will come up in my house...

Michelle said...

You definitely handled the situation perfectly.

We5Chois said...

Our kids are growing up fast. Tammie, you and David did a great job of handling this. Don't you just love this parenting gig? It gets tougher (but more fun) every day.

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