The moment the doctor tells you, “You’re having another boy,” you know things are about to get a little crazy. Oh, and it definitely did. I have three boys, under five-years old. As they get older, our stories about our day-to-day lives get more interesting.
Most of our stories involve my middle child, Levi. He’s a free spirit and one of the most loving people I’ve ever met. He greets people at our house half naked (Let me assure you I dress him about 15 times a day, but he always manages to “lose” his clothes). He is always under the table with some contraband item (candy usually).He will randomly change your name for an entire day (yesterday I was Elsa).
It’s because of him that I drink three cups of coffee a day. I have to keep up with him somehow! As he’s getting bigger, I’m learning more about his character. Everyone always sees his mischievous and silly side, but people forget that there is so much more to him.
People tend to think he needs us to raise our voice and be firm with him. They’ve told us he needs tough love and no grace. They make comments in front of him about how naughty he is. They tell us we’re not parenting him right.
What they don’t see is that same little boy come up to me later that night and ask me to call him a good boy. While you may think it’s nothing, it is. He wants me to reaffirm that I love him and don’t think he is a bad boy.
There are so many rowdy little boys like mine in the world. Instead of understanding who they are, people label them the trouble makers or tell their parents they need to be put on ADD meds. So, today I want to challenge all of you out there. Whether you are a parent or not. The next time you see a rowdy little boy, do not label him. Don’t tell him he’s bad because he wants to explore the world with his hands and push limits.
While you think he’s disrespectful, he’s learning what to say.
While you think he gets into everything, he’s learning limits in his environment.
While you think he’s can handle your “firm” words, he comes to mommy crying.
While you think he’s being mean to his baby brother, he was trying to give him a big kiss.
While you think he’s rude for not wanting to hug you, he is learning about his own emotions.
While you think he doesn’t listen, he hears every word.
While you see some of the naughty things they do, you don’t always know what they’re trying to do. Instead of being tougher on them, figure out how you can help.
I wish people would try to teach kids what they could do rather than what not to do. Yelling NO at a child doesn’t teach him. Instead, teach him how to do it better. Kids need to be allowed to explore their environment and figure out how the world works. This means they will fail. They will cross the line. They will do it wrong. It’s your job as the parent to teach them those limits.
Children understand so much more if you encourage them to explore and set clear limits. Labeling a child as the “bad kid” will prevent them from being able to express themselves, learn about the world, have any self confidence, or want to learn how to do things differently. Encourage your children rather than label them.
This post previously appear on Brittany’s blog The Almost Indian Wife. Photo courtesy of Brittany Muddamalle.