Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Word of the Day: Assertive

Okay - I like to keep it real. I like to do things that mean something to me, and not out of a sense of expectation or obligation. I like to pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve, and keep communication lines open. I'd rather confront someone, or ask if I may have misunderstood something - than clam-up and dwell & possibly over-react. I'm honest. I like to be able to just tell the truth. I LOVE a real friend who can keep it real too! (Shout-out to KP!) They understand when you have things to do, or simply don't feel up to doing something in particular. You can be honest with them, not make excuses, and they respect you for it - and do so in return. 

I don't like to feel as though I'm taking advantage of someone... and I therefore don't allow myself to be taken advantage of. I'm not a push-over, though sometimes, when put-on-the-spot, I might hesitate about the best way to handle a scenario.

When my kids' safety is at stake, or they are being negatively influenced - you bet your ass I'm gonna step-in, even if it might 'hurt your feelings'. 

Our sweet little 4-year-old (You know, the one who says we find out the weather by "calling Jesus"?) turned into an entirely different kid, right around the time she began to have play-dates with a new (so-called) friend from school. She began hitting, pushing, and spitting at her sister (and us!) when she didn't get her way. (We later learned this was being done to her by the supposed friend)... She began talking-back, sassing, telling US 'no', and blatantly disobeying. Each time we inquired about where she'd learned these behaviors... she insisted, "Nowhere!" Finally - through some parental manipulation, she started to share the name of supposed friend. Thing is, I wasn't shocked at all. We'd see heightened naughtiness after each play-date that ensued, which would gradually dissipate again as there was more distance between these pay-times. Aside from that, I'd witnessed first-hand on many occasions how this supposed friend acted-out just during school drop-off & pick-up times. Sadly, Addie was too greatly influenced. Of course, it's hard to expect otherwise. She's 4. She's seeing this 'friend' get her way constantly - just by being a brat. If she wanted her way - she'd employ those same tactics. Difference is - we'd discipline her for it, and she didn't get away with anything. However, this supposed friend was overheard telling my little girl to 'be sure to remember to be mean to your mom..." Soon, she spat at me directly when I picked-up our daughter from their house. Then, our little lady began hitting her dolls, and calling people names (i.e. 'stupid' & 'loser'). This was the line. I'd had enough. A) This was no friend. A true friend doesn't hit/push/ spit on you to effectively boss you around. B) She was rubbing-off way to readily onto our child. It was time to put greater distance between them. I started out by offering up (legitimate, though I still hate to do things this way) excuses whenever a "play-date" (i.e. free babysitting for their kid when her dad needed it) was requested. J & I put our heads together, and sat down to write a letter of concern for the parents - to fill them in on all that has ensued. Unfortunately, chances are - they'll share a school, as they live close by. BUT, they no longer play together outside of school. It took some 'convincing' - which I'M still convinced has been tossed-aside unrecognized - about the persistent problem with their kid's behavior. They tried to play the manipulative, guilt-trip game on us... to prevent us from wrongly 'punishing the kids' over our lack of ability to bring these things to their attention at the time of each occurrence, so that punishment could be administered timely. It was "OUR fault". (The apple doesn't fall far??) Ha! Nice try. They were still trying to coerce us into allowing play-dates.  Seriously? Finally, in true immature fashion, we were ignored and "un-friended" on fb. Aw. Dang. It's over!

No - we won't be able to 'shield' our kids from the "V's" (first letter of kid's name) of the world forever. But at this fragile age where they are learning so much from the world around them, I have every right as a parent to step-in and teach the necessary lesson. "Don't act like naughty friends, or you won't get to keep that friend." And, "Don't act like that at all - or you'll suffer the consequences." In so much as I could be looked down upon for inevitably trying to 'choose their friends' at this stage... I don't care. I will do whatever I can to limit their interactions with so-called friends who hurt them and who show zero respect for authority. As long as I can, I will. Besides, I'm no fan of double-standards. Her dad admittedly 'chose' her friends by encouraging her to play with (and invite herself over to the homes of) people who conveniently live close by. Hmmmm... Really? Yeah - Assertive feels good! If that makes me a bitch in the eyes of some people... Then I'm okay with that. 'Cause I'm a happier, less stressed-out bitch! ;)

TIP: Enforce consequences now, while the price tag is still small. It's our responsibility to properly 'shape'/ guide them as they come into contact with societal influences. You'll be glad you did when they turn 13!
A QUOTE: "You can never really live anyone else's life, not even your child's. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you've become yourself. " ~Eleanor Roosevelt
WHIDFML: Chucked that unnecessary stress to the curb! Saw HUGE improvements in our little lady over the course of the past few months without that influence. Unfortunately - there is still some residual that creeps up now and again - when she really wants to get her way. This leads to my next post...  

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