To listen to this essay (and maybe clean out the pencil mug on your desk) go to www.makeitfunanditwillgetdone.com and click on Young@Heart. The videos rotate about every five seconds so just wait a few seconds for it to come up.
ATTENTION! THAT’S ALL I WANT!
My reason for getting organized way back in 1977 was so that I’d have more free time to play with my family. I wasn’t having that much fun in my chosen career as a homemaker and it was mainly because of my disorganization and the messes it created. I knew that my attitude had to change about my life as a wife, mother and homemaker and once I nailed the reason to make the effort to change, everything fell into place (but not overnight).
I met Nelly, (my inner child; that part of me that’s about nine-years-old), in 2002 and in that meeting I realized she was behind my reason to change 25 years earlier. Over the last decade I’ve grown to adore her “take” on life. I see myself as her parent, always needing to monitor her thoughts and guide her into cooperating with all my “adult” plans and rules.
We just got back from a cruise with 3,000 passengers. I did a lot of people watching and I saw many well-behaved children and many who were out of control. In every instance I noticed that back of every child was a parent with either good or bad parenting skills. The well-behaved children stood quietly in lines at the buffets and the out of control children (they always stick out more) were usually issued a variety of useless directives.
We were in line behind Jason (about six-years-old) and his parents and sister Becky (about four) and we watched him hit his sister when the parents weren’t looking, tug on his father’s shirt, kick his mother’s purse and sag to the floor several times in the five minutes we were in line.
“Jason, what’s rule number two?” Obviously it wasn’t to stop whining and kicking at his mother. Then she tried this: “Jason, don’t you laugh! Do you hear me? DO NOT LAUGH!” And when he socked his sister in the arm and she started crying, she tried the same command on her: “Becky, don’t you laugh!” My guess is she read in some Parenting for Parents Who Don’t Have Time to Parent Guide to try this psychology on the children. But to tell a child not to laugh when he’s kicking you might get him to quit kicking or crying (it didn’t work with Jason or Becky) but behind that, is teaching a child to misbehave and go against what the parent is saying. I wonder how this will work when they are teenagers. “Jason, here’s a condom, do not have sex on your date tonight.”
The two children were literally crying for attention any way they could get it and it was obvious to me they needed effective discipline and real attention from the parents, and they weren’t getting it, so they pulled every trick out of their Be-A-Brat-Bag as we queued our way through the buffet. I felt sorry for the parents and the kids. Children behave well in public when they get sufficient guidance and love from the parents on a daily basis at home.
It’s the same when it comes to parenting the child within. I had one woman write to me and say, “I successfully raised three wonderful daughters, little did I know I had another one to raise; my inner child.” When you listen to the voice of that child and it says, “I want that chocolate cake or that ice cream,” and your rule is “no sugar,” if you’ll respond (if you’re in public you won’t want to talk out loud because they might put you away) with kindness and say something like, “Oh little one, let’s remember what we really want. We want to get to wear that dress we love when we go to the wedding next month and show off in front of my old boss who fired me.” Your undivided attention, served with love and understanding is a form of self-discipline that can have amazing results for you.