At that point, I was a teenager who's father hadn't been around until high school. It felt like a little too late most of the time. He wanted to know every detail, but he hadn't been around. He wanted to know what was going on in my life when it was things that he could brag about. Even though I grew up in the 70s and 80s, I was a child in many ways who was to be seen and not heard.
I don't want that for my children. But, I find more and more that I want to influence my children from the beginning in how they relate to other children and become friends. I remember a mom telling me when Autumn was 6 months old that sharing is the hardest thing to teach a child. It turned out that Autumn was a natural one for sharing. But, Sami was not. Not at all! As I've watched my children, I've strongly come to believe that we have to teach our children how to be friends--how to treat others kindly. Children are constantly testing things out. If they say something mean or unkind and no one corrects them, they will likely keep on doing it. Why not, after all!
I think as much about how my children interact with others as how the other children interact with them. I am protective of my children. I see Autumn's soft heart and naivete. She is willing to follow and tag along. I don't think she would realize if she wasn't wanted around. Some people might say that she needs to learn that by hard knocks--trial and error. But, I think that once she realizes that some of the softness in her heart will get a little calloused--it will will have to. She did say something in the car today that made me realize she is starting to understand this, though. And then there's Sami. Well, for all of Sami's strong willed character, I see her follow older girls too often and see them order her around. My heart has hurt whenever I've seen this happen.
So, this morning the girls and I had a talk about how we treat our friends and others. We talked about whether or not we do something when someone tries to talk us into doing something that we know is wrong. We talked about being grateful and what that looks like. It was a good discussion. They both came up with examples so to show me that they understood. And then this afternoon, we were at a friend's house and Sami did something that the other girl knew was not okay in that house. I explained to Sami that when we realize we have done something wrong that we didn't know was wrong, then we need to apologize. And she did.
I've been thinking through a lot of things today and these are just a few of them. There are many things that are hard about parenting, but this is one that is very hard for me.