Having children makes my heart love in ways I never thought possible. But, it also makes my heart hurt like never before. The king of heartache usually arrives at my doorstep when my children’s feelings get hurt. It’s the worst. For me, I struggle because I can’t make the terrible feeling go away. It’s not as easy as kissing boo-boos goodbye. For my kids, they realize not everyone is going to play nice. Not everyone is going to be their friend.
When situations like this occur, I tend to play defense. It’s not how I should respond but it happens. My mom claws come out. I’m kind of like a fierce dragon. If flames could shoot out of my ears, I’m sure you’d be able to see them.
A few instances occurred this year with my school-age children that told me I need to lock up my dragon. My kids need to learn how to put out their own fire. I can’t always pretend to be a real-life Olivia Pope and say “it’s handled” like nobody’s business.
I can certainly provide guidance when things get out of hand, but I need to chill out and relax. We all need to take a timeout. I know I’m not alone here. The term helicopter mom was invented for reason. I’ve witnessed some nutty behavior from parents. I’m a little ashamed to say I’ve been there.
The School Bus Incident
My daughter recently ran off the school bus hysterically crying. She received a nasty note from another child. (For the record, this individual doesn’t attend her school.) I couldn’t believe it. It’s a 10-minute ride home. What possibly could happen in that short timeframe??!! And who doesn’t like my beautiful, blue-eyed, smart, quiet, loyal little girl?
I was angry, like dragon mad. I quickly left the house and hurried to the end of my driveway. I flagged down the bus driver to stop as she was leaving my neighborhood. Yes, you read that right. Little old me stopped the giant yellow bus. The poor bus driver thought my kids forgot something. That is, until she saw the expression on my face.
“I want to know who wrote this note to my daughter,” I demanded.
I had a dozen little eyeballs staring at me. It was in that moment I knew I was in the wrong, but it was too late. I was already on the damn bus.
I got some answers, thanked the driver and left. As I walked back to my house, I felt a little embarrassed. I reacted too quickly. I was that parent. I was acting like moms and dads who are there for every, single, little incident. I was appearing like my kids can do no wrong, which is not the case. Plus, I want to teach my kids to handle conflict with grace and strength. I wasn’t a good example of practicing what I preach.
I felt terrible that I asked the kids to fess up and tell me who wrote the note. They’re kids for crying out loud. Stuff like this is going to happen. Children make mistakes. They’re learning how to be a friend and how to play nice. Of course, I consoled my daughter and told her everything was going to be okay. I also told her she needs to stick up for herself and tell an adult if something is not right.
As parents, we need to recognize this a bit more. Leave judgment for the courtroom. Kids are learning and growing. So, give them space to figure it out and be there to offer advice. Don’t immediately breathe fire when something goes wrong.
Let go of your dragon. Relax.