I had inspiration strike today as I was texting with a friend, I realized one of the advantages our kids have. Are you ready for it? Sit down cause you might need to let this sink in for a moment.
Our kids KNOW this is a game. Not only do they know, but they spend their days trying to figure out how to bend the rules, adjust the time clock and pick a fight with the Refs.
We are told very early on in our childrens lives that they simply do not understand us. Doctors, teachers, grandparents, even other mothers spend their days trying to convince us (and perhaps themselves) that our children simply do not know what we are asking of them. When they stare at you as you give them directions and then they ask you "what?", they are simply confused. When they look you in the eye as you direct them to stop jumping on the bed and then do it "just one more time", they simply did not process your request. When they carefully pick a fight between two other children and then sneak off so as not to get caught, they didn't understand they were hurting someone elses feelings.
I am not buying it. I happen to know my childrens IQ's and know they are so much smarter than that. I have seen the look in their eyes and can almost hear the wheels turning in their brains as they develop a plan of attack for the next round of the 'Parenting Game'.
Now my question to you is this....If you decided to look at this the way our children do, if you decided that this really is like a game, would that change how you parent?
Now don't get me wrong, parenting is HARD. It is hands down the most difficult, emotionally draining, physically exhausting, spiritually crying out job I have ever had. But if I decided to take every mean and hurtful thing my children say or do to me with a grain of salt because I understand the rules to this game, would those words cut as deep and would I react as strongly to something we both know she did not mean? Could you shake off those tantrums and screaming fits a little easier if you viewed its as a challenging of the rules instead of a personal commentary on you as a parent?
Now the brilliant part of this analogy, at least to me, is the one part the children are hoping you forgot. Are you still sitting down? YOU make the rules, YOU control the clock, and YOU, yes YOU are the supreme Ref in this game and have final call in all game disputes.
So tomorrow when I wake up, I will grab my jersey and whistle and go play. I will remember not only am I the Ref, I am the mom, I love my children, and that ultimately it is my house and my rules.
If you don't laugh, you'll cry.