Daddy, Don't be Rude!
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
It's been a while since I wrote in Daddy Diaries. Well I've been busy being a dad, and all the other wild hats I wear in this life that have kept me from taking to the keyboard to share. But now that I have a moment, let me share about how confusing it can be to discipline children. It's like trying to solve a rubix cube without fingers, almost impossible. So my two beautiful gems and sometimes "lil terrors" (don't judge me for calling them that if you're not a parent hehehe), decided that they would start regurgitating some of the words that tend to spill out of a tired, frustrated, lost, and up-to-here parent. What did I say? Well you're going to have to read on to find out.
It had been a typical holiday in the Ta and Ti household. All had progressed as should be expected for a house with 2 toddlers and 4 adults. Picture toys spread all over the living room floor ready to stab the already tortured soles of the adults feet, children wrestling over a toy that I had to buy two of because here I was thinking it would fix the constant bickering over the toy. Who was I kidding. Two of anything doesn't work because toddlers will be toddlers, but I digress. So the wrestling turns into yelling, to shrieking, to me yelling "Stop it!" The room goes quiet as each child freezes and stares with a blank face like nothing was wrong. If you are a parent, you know that look. The one you and I tend to make when our spouse catches us eating the dietary option we weren't supposed to because we are on a diet.
So there's peace and quiet right? Wroooong!! The oldest one decides to gather courage from only God knows where in that little body and says "Daddy, don't be rude!" What do you say to a 4 year old with that response. To add more humble to the humble pie, the other kid borrows some courage and says "Mommy daddy's being rude!" Uuuum, now what? Usually I would have some off the hip come back but I must confess my ego was shot. I was what they would call “weak” in that moment. It was certainly a come to Jesus and surrender moment for me because after real thought I realized that my children were merely mirroring what they thought being rude was. But where they right? You betcha. But how does telling them to stop it constitute as being rude? Good question. That was my question. Until it hit home that it was all about how my message was communicated. I raised my voice - correction - I yelled it. If I yelled at a colleague or worse my spouse to stop it, I don't think I would spend the night in the same bed let alone house. There's something about raising our voices uncontrollably that takes away from the valuable lessons we want to teach our children as well as our ability to get through to them discipline wise.
It took me stepping back to truly realize that I was being rude. In this situation I didn't have to say much to be honest, except walk over to the little wrestlers, take the toy and send them to separate spaces to settle down. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm the adult in the relationship and that each situation requires and adult touch and real wisdom. It's not easy especially considering these "lil terrors" are trying to figure out life just as we are trying to figure out parenting. But through it, muttering the word "help" to their Creator may just be the way leading to us maturely resolving our frustration at the simple fact that we don’t really know it all and are simply winging what our parents winged when they were winging what their parents winged. When it’s all said and done our kids need us just as much as we need sleep, without it we’d go nuts. So what have I learnt from this experience...
Our children are spectators, mirrors, and echos of what we see or speak in and to ourselves. They are adorable is they become their own people but before they get there they have to go through our dirty laundry to get to their own closet. So be careful to air what you really want them to reflect or echo back to you.
You remember how I said disciplining children is like trying to solve a rubix cube without fingers. I added the word ALMOST to impossible because with parenting comes the importance of being able to embrace the responsibility of raising your child(ren) and submit to the fact that only God knows who they are and why they are here. It only seems impossible when we try to go about it on our own. It almost seems impossible until we submit to God. We have a role to play in this, and as a dad the perspective my children have on life can only be molded by how well I expose them to it without prejudice.
Let’s face it, there is no perfect parent out there except the one who took it upon Himself to make us His own and parent us. Why should we waste time trying to figure it out on our own when we clearly don’t have a clue. Ask dad! He teaches us to “ask and we shall receive...” so why waste such a great offer from our Creator on how best to raise His creation in the first place. Yes you and your spouse may have had sex and baby came or you may adopted, whatever the case God knew them before we knew them.
You and I are the adults. Raising our voices won’t solve the problem but create another. Loud lil terrors. I’ve decided to lower my voice and alternate my tone and so far they are getting the difference between serious and playful daddy. And guess what they didn’t say I was being rude when I spoke to them about their wrestling today.
We’ll see what tomorrow brings