Wednesday, April 11, 2012

PYHO: When Does a Dandelion Become Just a Weed

I've been writing this post in my head for a couple of weeks now.  It's a question that has been plaguing me.  The ponderance came from T's newfound obsession with picking dandelions and giving them to us.  At first, it was sweet.  I played the part, I thanked him and carried it around the rest of our walk.  On one instance, I even put them in water because, as T said "I think they'll stay alive longer in our house with lots and lots of water".  I did the dance.  I hugged him and told him how pretty they were.  However, in the back of my mind, I was thinking about when and how I was going to break the news to him.  When's the right time, and what is the right way to tell a kid that a dandelion is just a weed.  Not only is it a weed, but we don't welcome them in our yard, and mommy and daddy don't want to put them in a vase.  I can just hear his little heart breaking.  What a metaphor for life.  Seriously. 

These instances of dandelion picking led to a discussion hubs and I had on one of our evening walks with the kids.  When DO you break the realities of life to a child? Hubs and I both agree that it's best to tell the truth to our kids.  We talked about it briefly, but never came to a sound conclusion.  The discussion was tabled.

A few days later, T came home from his first pitch baseball practice and proudly announced that he was "the best batter, ever".  Ummmmmm.  I looked at hubs' face, and knew that wasn't exactly the case.  Although T is doing quite well holding his own with the bigger kids, he's playing up in the 6U group, he's definitely not "the best".  I said something like "great job buddy", and moved on. 

This whole "I'm the best" situation brought the discussion about again on how to tell your child that life isn't fair and he's, most likely, not going to be a major league baseball player.  How can we finally tell them they won't have everything given to them on a silver platter?  How can we break it to our children that every loving, present-giving character they've believed in is actually lame old mom and dad?  How long should we let them look through rose-colored glasses?

I do think society coddles today's youth far too much.  I don't think every child should win a ribbon or get a trophy.  ::eye roll:: Technically, they didn't all "win".  What does this teach our children?  I do think it's a tragedy that little leaguers can't chant "hey batter batter batter, swing batter" from the dugout or field.  I mean...come on....  I do think blaming "bullying" for every problem in schools is a bit overboard (not saying it doesn't happen...I know it does).  I am appalled at the level of helicopter parenting.  I see it all first hand as a high school teacher.  Even at 14-18, these kids think they "deserve" an A, and it's MY fault they didn't receive one.  Mommy and Daddy tell them they're the best, so they assume that's how the world works.  When they graduate, they'll be the ones expecting to make six figures right out of college, and won't settle for less because, they deserve it. 
I don't want my kids to be that way.  I want to be sure I raise them to know the realities of life and they are independent and confident, but not cocky.  I don't want them to grow up sheltered, entitled, whiny, and selfish.  I want my kids to KNOW they won't make every team, win every race, get an A on every project, and be the best at every activity they try.  I want to be sure they're prepared that every kid won't like them.  Sometimes their peers will be cruel.  Often they will dislike their teacher or boss.  Not everyone or everything will be in their life forever.  Everything won't always be okay.  Sometimes life sucks.  They might cry sometimes, be hurt sometimes.  Life isn't perfect, and they shouldn't have to be either. 

This is why, even if you don't agree with me, we will make sure T & B are not lied to.  We have to figure out how to prepare them, how to be honest with them and how to sometimes perform tough love. 

Although life isn't always fair, they will also know that their dad and I will always be there.  No matter what, we will always love them, and they will get through it. 

If you know my neighbor...this is even funnier!  (aka Hairy Mower Man) LOL! 

Put together your own Pour Your Heart Out post, and go linky up with Shell @ Things I Can't Say.  She wrote a great post today about whether her kids know how hard she works, and that she does it all for them.  Inspiring post.  Go on over!



  1. I totally agree with everything you are saying. Our daughter came home the other day and told us she was the "fastest runner" on her soccer team. She's almost four, and most of the kids on her team are older and faster than she is. I told her that I was glad she was fast, but that there are a lot of really fast runners, and she'll get faster and stronger the older she gets. She seemed totally fine with that. : )

    1. I do think that the earlier you are honest with the kid, the more they just let it roll off their backs and accept it, then hopefully it will stay with them later in life.

  2. I think that is a really hard situation. I totally agree with you on the helicopter parenting although I know I totally have some of those tendencies, I will not be one of those "my kid is number one and NEVER at fault" children. Mommy and daddy can't always make it right and there are consequences to your actions.

    1. I do tend to micro-manage in my life. I just hope I can control myself with my kids. If I'm aware of it, hopefully I can avoid those habits.

  3. It's so hard to where the line is. I don't want to coddle mine, either. But I also don't want to destroy their confidence. I think when they are still young, it's okay not to correct the "I'm the best" because kids are still learning and to discourage them might stop them from continuing and getting better.

    On the other hand, I taught teenagers who thought they should be given A's b/c they were nice kids. So, it has to stop somewhere.

    1. I agree. It's a balancing act. You want your kids to be strong and have confidence, but still be humble.

  4. Silver lining. It's tough. I am trying to build my daughters confidence and tend to over exaggerate how great she is. Great post. Food for thought...

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