It’s an age old thing that parents and kids don’t speak the same language. Every time I think I’m finally on the same page as my boys, they morph into a different human and I have to realize we’re not even reading from the same book. Their needs, want, priorities and interests change faster than the political stability in our country. People talk about keeping up with the Joneses, but the real pain in the ass is keeping up with the humans you’ve spawned.
Even now, sitting here writing my blog, my baby Oscar is having an A Grade hissy fit. Two weeks ago I’d know it was either for food, attention, general asshole-lism or because of some toy. Now, I have no fucking idea what cry goes with what need.
Then you have days where nothing you do seems to be the right kind of something they want. You pick them up, they cry. You put them down, they cry. They point to an apple and end up chucking it like a missile at your head. They take a toy, and leave the toy, then cry for a different toy, two crawls away from them.
It’s the most complicated language to learn. And I don’t care who claims any differently, NO ONE is an expert. The reality of it is that no kids are the same, we cannot categorize them and treat them accordingly and expect to suddenly understand them. Kid talk is not some awesome fairy dust that gets sprinkled over your confused head and then the clouds part and a magical rainbow of complete and utter understanding appears to touch you personally.
The biggest reason why it’s so hard to be on the same page as your kids is mostly because, most of the time they don’t even know what page THEY’RE on.
Say for example my 10 year old, Xander. He now has the capability to communicate his feelings, emotions, opinions and disappointments. (Being a semi-teenager, that’s a capability that he constantly practices and constantly land him in shit). But, we’ve been homeschooling for the last two years and most of the time I think we’re doing fine. Then he has these weirdly out of character emotional outbursts. I’m talking about screaming, crying, punching, kicking outbursts. Any normal parent knows right then and there, if it’s not drugs or pregnancy then something else is seriously wrong.
So how do we then, as obviously confused parents go about getting to understand our kids. I’d be a little hypocritical if I said, I’ve got the answers, mostly because I believe no one does. But if there is one thing that I know without a doubt, is that you first need to establish trust.
If you are the kind of parent that looses your shit over a missing key when they do fess up, how will they ever learn to trust that they can come to you with the big things, like dating a girl, deciding on a career, cementing their religious beliefs or hiding a body. Trust is key, more like trust is one of the million keys to a really fucktup Pandora’s box.
The next thing I’ve found that sort of kind of works is making special time. Sit, look them in their eyes and try to see what they are saying. Understand that you’ll never completely get it, but if you can convincingly pull of interest, they will come to you again. Hopefully the next time you’ll understand a little more.
Try to treat the issues, not the kid. Repeat what you hear, and let them correct you when you undoubtedly misunderstand.
Never, an this is probably the master key, lead them. Never fill in the missing words, never draw them to your conclusions, never trump them with your opinion. By spoon feeding your child’s conversations, you are single handedly creating the idiots that surround us at the moment.
Free thinkers are not born, they are raised. Teach your child to respect other people’s opinions and views but still have their own.
Hopefully by the time that they are our age, we will be able to communicate with a single look, or a shared smile.
Until then, try to enjoy what seems like random moments. Because all we are is a series of random moment.