Sometimes my kids aren’t happy. Not because they are injured, but because the world does not revolve around them, and they have a difficult time with that concept. No, you cannot have the one toy (out of 20,000) that your brother has.
By Nicole Nowitzki
No, you cannot pull the cat’s tail. No, you cannot go outside wearing shorts when it’s -15 degrees. The list goes on, but sometimes, the answer is just no. Not because you are mean, or too strict, but because kids can’t always have what they want. Some of these no’s don’t even need an explanation. “No, but thanks for asking!” I catch myself saying sometimes. When they get a little bit older, many things may need to be a learning moment, but sometimes the answer is just NO.
We went to the Aquatic Center recently, and we happened to park next to a huge curb filled with decorative rocks. While I was putting the swimming bag into the car, my boys thought it would be fun to throw about 200 rocks into the parking lot. I can hear it now, “Boys will be boys!” but I was furious. We spent the next five minutes standing in the middle of the parking lot while they picked up every rock. I tried to explain to these tiny humans that our friends that work there spent a lot of time and effort trying to make it beautiful, and it was our job to make sure it stayed that way. I know that some would have just brushed it off, some may have given a gentle reminder not to throw rocks, and some would have made them pick them pack up. As their parent, it is your decision how you react. That is what makes parenting so difficult.
When my oldest was between three and eight months, we used to live in Denver approximately six miles from a Super Target (sigh) and a half mile from a Super Walmart. He loved to lie back with his blanket, and look at the lights, people, and colors. Most of the time, we wouldn’t even buy anything, but it was fun to get out of the house.
About once a week, I would ask him if he’d like to borrow a toy from the store. We would walk up and down the toy aisle, and he would pick one thing to hold in the cart. Once we were ready to leave, we would walk back and try to find the toy’s home. He was so excited when we found it and put it back. Once they find out toys can be purchased, it is a fit waiting to happen. I try everything in my power to prevent potential fits in public!
I can’t stand it when my oldest son asks his grandparents what they are going to bring/send him… like they need more toys!!! I can’t handle it when people are entitled, so I going to try my hardest to teach empathy, honesty, and kindness. This comes with time because my twins nearly fist fight over toys, and my oldest hollers when someone takes something that is “his,” but parenting is a constant battle that I refuse to give up on because all it will do is make my life more difficult if I give into the nonsense.
We are in charge of making sure our children turn out to be decent adults, and I know that picking up rocks will not make that much of a difference, but I want them to understand that someone has to clean up their mess, and someone worked very hard to make that landscaping look beautiful. How would they feel if someone did that to them?