Dealing with Daughters
I have always admitted that although I am a great coach, I am a lousy playmate. There are many, many, tedious chores that I would be happy to do in place of sitting down for a tea party, or to play dolls, or anything pretend. I don’t know if it is because I was so traumatized by existing as a child myself that I want to do nothing that reminds me of it, but for whatever reason, I have always thanked god that my husband is good at playing with the kids. I can teach them, and lead them, and discipline them, and love them…but he is the one who plays.
I am discovering another area in which I am not very strong, and luckily my husband tends to excel at it as well. I am not good at sympathizing with emotions that I feel are unwarranted. In other words, when my girls lose their minds and are having totally normal pre-teen fits over things, I really do not know how to deal with them. The last thing that I want to do is sit them down and sympathize with their feelings. I believe that their reactions are not appropriate ones for whatever issue they are dealing with, so in my mind, I feel like helping them to work through it will somehow encourage the inappropriate behavior. I am also a really horrible liar so I am guessing that even if I tried to sit down and calmly talk them out of one of their fits they would see right away how much the behavior disgusts me whether I tried to hide it or not.
So once again I am thanking the heavens that my husband seems to be much better at dealing with this stuff than I am. He understands that even though their emotional reaction to whatever problem they happen to be having has been blown entirely out of proportion, their feelings are still valid. He can sit them down and talk with them about why they are so upset, and usually pull them out of it. I do get that it is very important to them, I just feel like it is my job to fill them in on the fact that it isn’t socially acceptable to scream and carry on that way unless you did actually get your toe cut off, or some other equally terrible thing. When they are screaming their heads off because their brother happened to touch one of their precious possessions, I just don’t get it.
My husband and I are so lucky that we have a family with two engaged parents doing the parenting. I know that even in a lot of two parent homes out there, the situation exists where only one parent is fully engaged. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult single parenting must be. My husband has been out of town for a couple of months at a time for trainings and such, but I could still get him on the other end of the phone for moral support. If you have friends who are single parents, make yourself available to talk to their kids if their kids need someone to talk to. Sometimes just getting feedback from an adult that they trust who isn’t mom or dad can help them a lot. I don’t think that anyone has all of the skills to be well rounded in all areas of parenting. I would have failed in the very beginning for being unable to play tea party after all. We are human, and we all need another human to fill in our gaps from time to time. I am grateful every day for the people who help me fill in mine.