Getting to know my kids is important. After reading the 5 love languages, I’ve come to know that we all have different love languages that we use different ones to show love and to receive love. There’ll be one (or two) type of love language (s) that is dominant than the others and that’s how we love others and see how others love us. That’s the same for our children. Not only that, I have read that I need to give them a complete love (an ingredient mentioned in ‘Grace Based Parenting‘, by Dr. Tim Kimmel) that will make them confident to enter the adult world.
Along the way, it also daunted on me that it is also important I get to know their friends. Well, you may say that I am one paranoid mother but I can tell you that it is not for nothing. Perhaps, it will be more timely to know their friends when our children hit their teenage years. But in some playdates that my girls have been in, I have picked up certain behaviors that were not normal and disturbing if I may say.
In one particular playdate, there was a boy who didn’t want B to sit on a chair. My husband then asked him where can B sit. His answer: Sit downstairs. And here we are in his home, an apartment, so downstairs meant at the void deck, out of his home. I can only imagine how his parents talk to each other and to him. The word “rude” just kept replying in my head. Children have a good sense of things around them; for starters they know when you are angry. And this boy I’m talking about is an intelligent one, he is one who knows what to say to sweeten your day. And he is aware that his suggestion for B to sit downstairs, was not a polite one; he simply was not gracious and rude. Also, he would not say that in front of his mother. Then there’s another child I know who has anger issues and is always seen shouting and pouting. Now, that’s just the tip of the iceberg; this child has on several occasions asked me to buy toys for her, give her something from my home and even asked B to get me to buy her a dress that B was wearing. I find that very strange. Why would a child asked another adult, not her parents, to buy her things? I suspect that the physical abuse she has endured caused her behavior and she probably doesn’t feel enough love from her parents and is seeking affirmation and love from another adult, from elsewhere. And these are not mere speculations but observations I have made when interacting with the parents and the child.
Let me share a case study:
A father commits adultery and the mother shares it with her children. The parents also quarrel in front of the kids and sometimes even get violent with each other. The older son starts to have anger issues and is always angry. He tells his teacher that he doesn’t know why he is always angry.
I think the lesson learnt here is having the wisdom to share it with the right person, and sharing with your children is definitely not the wisest thing to do. Children at a young age will not understand the dynamics of your relationship and how and why it failed. I mean the mother had inevitably created an angry person in her son, who should have been given the revelation of his parent’s problems at a later more matured age. Also, he does not need the details of his father’s affair.
We will disagree with our spouses from time to time. While it is good to avoid quarreling in front of the children if we can help it, I believe that it is just as important to apologize to your spouse in front of them if you had quarreled in front of them. I believe this will encourage them to apologize when they have made mistakes.
I am no expert on parenting but I would just like to share some things I’ve seen & learnt. I think it is very important to know who your kids are hanging out with. You may have trained them well, with proper upbringing but they will end up spending more time with their friends as they grow up and the values imparted must be the right ones lest they fall into the wrong path of their not-so-healthy friends. For example, they might be influenced by their circle of friends with unhealthy habits, unmoral values and etc. As for my kids’ friends at this moment, I monitor their interactions and try to keep a close watch of their conversations as well. I have also explained to them that it is wrong to ask for gifts from another adult. While I’m not stopping them from playing with angry, diabolical kids, I want to teach them how to handle them just like how they should stand up to bullies, I will not hesitate to stop playdates with angry kids for one reason- conflict with the parents. So do share with me your experiences.