Parenting 101 :: Turning a Fail into a Win

Parenting is hard, and if you argue that there is a more difficult job, you’d lose. You have a small human life in your hands. Not only do you have to keep them alive, and fed, the ultimate goal is to make sure they grow up kind and decent, with an ounce of common sense. Ok, I’ll admit being a teacher with 20 children, that aren’t from your own loins, is a harder career. I praise you, teachers.

Jaxson is a smart kid, and though that might sound biased, I am constantly Googling facts that I inevitably chalk off as a figment of his wonderful and creative imagination and it is laughable when I have to admit that I am in a constant state of falsehood. There is a fish in the deepest depths of the ocean with a flashlight protruding from its skull called a Ceratiidae, in the family of anglerfish. Who knew.

Cue the rock and a hard place. He watches some of the most brilliant animal planet shows, as part of his “screen time”, and often times that includes YouTube videos that melt the brain, or create disruptive behavior. I am a victim of time, and often to get chores done, dinner on the table, and find some sanity in my day, I don’t manage every minute that absorbs into his sponge-like limbic system (the part of the brain responsible for memory), until now. I received the dreaded message of disruptive behavior from his teacher. The “hard” foundation of intelligent shows is “rocked” by the ones that slip in between the cracks that are useless and often times violent.

He is grounded; grounded from his tablet and TV. Screen time, if mentioned this week, is met with a fiery eyed, stiff bodied, mom-tone of “you are grounded until a good report from school is received”. I stand firm, and usually I am a giver, not a taker. But with every negative we face in life, a blessing in disguise can be found, if you look hard enough. If you imagine hard enough. If you process and get creative, hard enough. I have had to take a step back from laundry and dishes, and this week we have colored.

At first, it was something to fill his time, but I love to color, so I joined him. As we colored, we talked, we conversed, we communicated. He heard me and I listened to him. I knew at some point he would become bored and insist that he has been well-behaved enough for 30 minutes of television; which instantly triggered the reminder. The next counter, from him, nearly broke me.

“Will I lose coloring if I am bad? (thinking he might be trying to outsmart me, I said of course not), good because this is something WE can do together.”

Something we can do together. That sentence pounded in my head. My child, any child, longs for attention, and love, and an activity that can be done together. He is still grounded, but I want to take a moment to thank God for the small reminders that not all bad reports have to have negative feelings. I am thankful to be able to use this opportunity to teach a lesson in life, awareness in our behavior, and how important time spent with one another can turn something dreadful into a favorable circumstance. It will take time to create a new routine, but time spent without him is something I can never get back. Cue the tears.

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