Parenting is quite possibly the most stressful task you will ever undertake. Trying to raise responsible, tolerant, non-sociopathic kids in a society that promotes greed, violence and deceptiveness is pretty damn hard.
I am trying to teach E about what I lcall ‘tricky people’. The kind of people who don’t look like bad people. The ones who might look like a friend, a family member or a person you can trust. The kind who say and do all of the right things in public but somehow leave you with a bad feeling in your tummy or hurt you in private.
Im trying to explain to her that ‘tricky people’ can make you feel bad even when you don’t think you’ve done anything at all. They can say funny things that aren’t always mean words, but still make you feel sad because you don’t like or do something they do (differing appearance & personal taste).
A few weeks ago E gave me a picture. When I complimented it she said “but Mummy, it’s not a good picture because …. at school said I colour like a baby because sometimes I like to go outside the lines and draw outside the picture”.
Many parents may not agree with my response but my goal is to raise an individual. One who is confident in her own skin, in her choices and her own personal style. I want my kid to be a game changer, not a blind follower.
I want her to raise her hand confidently and volunteer ideas that are authentically her own rather than those she is confident will please the crowd and garner applause.
So in response to her comment I told her, “E, you listen to me! The next time someone makes you feel bad about yourself or something you worked hard on, you tell them, “That’s ok, I like colouring outside the lines and I don’t have to be like you. This is how I do it”.
E told me she would get in trouble for saying that. I told her to tell whoever gets her trouble to “talk to my Mum”, because my bet is that pretty soon, after you’ve stood your ground, the tricky people will be colouring just like you do.
Raising kind, well mannered kids does not mean raising door mats. Teach them the value of their own voice, it’s the best defence you can offer them.