Sunday, 10 April 2016

Parental advice...

(unrelated pic of my two favorite people)

Is everyone else still obsessed with This American Life? Jon and I definitely are. Every time we listen, we end up talking for hours about whatever theme they are doing that week. The latest: Parenting and advice. Jon and I were talking about how the last thing a kid wants to hear is, "You'll understand when you are older" or, "It's God's plan" or "Your life is so easy right now, just enjoy it." Now that we have our own kid (though he is still a tiny toddler), I really see how smart kids are.

We were talking about our own childhoods, and I remembered the time I was 7 years old and we moved to Germany, where we started school midway through the school year. It's so hard to be the new person in school, especially as an introvert. The worst part of the day is lunchtime, where you are expected to socialize. I used to wish I could just take a math class during lunch. No joke, I would have so preferred that. Anyway, mom's advice? She told me to bring my modeling clay to school and bring it out at lunch and maybe some of the other kids would be interested and come talk to me. So much more valuable than her saying, "It'll get better, just give it time." And it worked. A few quiet girls came and asked me what I was doing, and I ended up with a few friends, which is all you need for a successful grade two lunch hour. I have been the new girl so many times in my life, and mom never minimized it, and she also never victimized it. I never felt bad for myself. It was just a problem to solve.

I actually think this applies to adults too. If I have a problem in my life, and I am telling a friend about it, the absolute last thing I want to hear them say is, "Don't worry about it, it'll be fine." So not helpful. Much better to say, "That sucks, that sounds hard, maybe I can help you figure it out."

Nothing makes you think about how good your parents are like becoming a parent yourself.

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