We went away for the night recently to a cheesy family hotel with an indoor water park and playground and family friendly dining. Basically Mecca for kids.
We had a great time. We came, we swam, we conquered. We left covered in chlorine and 3 out 4 of us slept on the way home.
The only thing I struggled with was the other parents. Almost all of them were so hard on their kids. I saw a mom punish her child for being scared of going down a slide and making her (the mom) stand there too long. One set of parents told their almost three year old “Gavin, remember to share now…” before my kids had even got in the pool.
I view my role as a mom as a watchful bystander in my kids lives. I just watch them. That’s all. I encourage them to make good choices and ask them to reconsider when they are not. I offer them options and help them understand the consequences of their choice. I cheer them on or redirect when needed. The only “rules” at my house are:
If you hit, you sit
It only fun if its fun for everyone
Everyone deserves to be listened to
I wish these moms would let their kids just be. I watched two sisters playing happily and the mom yelled at the one to stop throwing her shoe around, thus ending their game. I felt sad for those sisters. One girl was climbing on the play structure and yelled out to her mom “look mom, I’m being so careful”. Sigh.
I feel strongly that we underestimate kids and spend far too much time and energy talking at them, telling them what to do or discouraging them. Maybe your kid would surprise you, give them a chance. Maybe Gavin would have shared or maybe not but that would have been between him and my kids. I do know for sure they would have worked it out.
At one point a mom was asking her kid not to splash. At a water park. She looked at me sheepishly after her kid splashed my kid and I wanted to splash her.
I want to talk to these moms, I am craving connection and friendship as much as anybody but I’m not connecting. I wish I could find a way to encourage the moms to sit back, relax and for the love of Pete stop saying “be careful”. Seriously, that’s a useless thing to say.