The older kids: My self evaluation and hypocrisy.
How the hell am I supposed to tell a teenager not to do something when I did the same at their age? Some of the things my teenage kids do well, blow the way I did them at their age out of the water. They both get themselves up to go to school. I needed multiple wake ups from both parents daily all the way thru graduation. Frankly could’ve used them in college too. They both watch, play with, and take care of their little brother and sister. And they both have intelligence and unselfishness beyond their years. Oh, and all their teachers love them. I check none of those boxes.
So when I have to discipline them I always go back to how I was at their age. And rarely do I say to myself ‘how can they be so stupid? I never did that,’ etc. Cutting corners, excuses, flat out lies…I did all those things. That’s why they’re so easy to spot. Been there. Don’t try me.
But, I always feel off, maybe even not worthy of, being the guy who tells them to clean up after themselves, do their chores, or listen and do things the first time. Do as I say, not as I do….Thanks. It’s a constant struggle.
The younger kids: Patience, perseverance, energy, amongst others.
Same old story from every parent I’m sure: Come home from a long day of work and just want to relax for a little bit. I developed a strategy of convincing myself that my ride home is my relaxation period. It’s effective maybe 50% of the time. The times it works I walk through the door ready to help out and do anything. The problem is the other half of the time. I’m open to suggestions. Maybe Red Bull or something.
Constantly calmly teaching them things, constantly repeating things without yelling, and not freaking out when I feel it coming is hard. And getting along with my wife can be tough. She has her ways of dealing with them and I have mine. Often similar, often vastly different. Remembering that we both want what’s best for them and reminding myself that I’m not always right about everything is my method of dealing with her. It does me no good to freak out. Calmly talking about it later is always the way to go. I’m always surprised how many times she’s open to the input and how many times her explanation of the situation makes complete sense.
Of course, having 4 amazing kids helps me deal with anything. I know this when I’m by myself for awhile and I’m constantly thinking of them.