According to Wikipedia: The Roman Empire theory says, Roman children, when beset by a bully, would be forced to say the Latin phrase, “Patrue, mi Patruissimo,” or, “Uncle, my best Uncle,” in order to surrender and be freed.
I’ve learned over these single parenting years, especially, not to be ashamed when I hit a brick wall. I mean, everyone hits them…that place where, left to our own devices, no clear path presents itself. I usually have to hit the same wall a few times, no, maybe several times, befor I cry “Uncle!”
“Patrue, mi Patruissimo!”
As my daughter approaches her teen years, I find myself continually perplexed by my parenting inconsistencies. One minute things are fabulous, and I’m sledding smoothly down the hills of Mt. Pinos, the next minute Mt. Everest shows up, and I lack any sort of mountain climbing skills. Yesterday I was singing “Riser” by Derks Bentley, and today I’m a Yahoo News headline: Single mom drowns in a sea of tween drama.
I can be calm, cool, and collected, and in ten seconds switch to screaming, ranting Mommy Dearest.
All it takes is one trigger, one button push, one hot spot (and I don’t mean AT & T).
I’ve also learned through various trials that, typically, it’s what I’m doing that is the biggest part of the problem. I whole-heartedly believe in looking in the mirror. No, I’m not taking full blame for every attitudinal tantrum or smart remark made by my pre-teen, but I am willingly admitting that when I step outside myself and take a deep breath, I usually mitigate the situation.
I’m the adult. I’m the one who’s lived the life, been a kid, been an adolescent, teenager, 20-something, etc, etc, etc. I have the experiences of decades to remind me of the turmoil and trials that pervade these developing years. Sure, I can tout, “Well, that’s just the way it is. We’ll get through it. We all survive and turn out okay.” Fairly true, but as y’all probably know by now, that’s not my style.
Case in point…with horses in training, the more you force them to do something they don’t want to do, the more they plain and simple will not do it. Sound familiar? See any correlation? On the contrary…as soon as a horse believes that what you’d like him to do is actually his idea in the first place, it happens. Sure, it might take more than one try, one baby step at a time (usually it does), but it does indeed happen and in a much nicer fashion than, “I said do this! Do it now, dag-gummit!”
Not that my daughter should be compared to a horse (although, I don’t think she’d mind, knowing how much she loves them), but I am at a place where I’m asking myself, “What on earth am I thinking? Why am I acting like this? What can I do to change myself and to help us both along?”
I’ve been so frustrated trying to make my kid do what I want her to do (basically, I want her to do things just like me, duh), with ZERO REWARD, instead of looking for a different path. Brick walls abound, and I am humbled by the ever-present realization that my way is not the only way or the necessary way, and her way may be different but equally worthy and sufficient for success.
So, I am embarking on some parenting research to help me cope with my own insecurities and fear and to help guide me through these unchartered waters.
A friend of mine posted a quote on Facebook today by Ian Leighton, a renowned horse trainer, which says this:
I wonder what it is about some people that find unpleasantness rewarding.
I can’t think of an animal that thinks that way.
I do not find unpleasantness rewarding, and I know that my kiddo doesn’t either. I will not settle for things “just being” because of her age and my inexperience as a pre-teen parent.
I ordered book on Amazon called Wise Minded Parenting: 7 Essentials for Raising Successful Tweens + Teens by Laura S. Kastner. Her parenting techniques go along with the “Mindfulness” movement. I reviewed the book and scanned the intro, and it completely hit home. When I read the following statistic, As of 2010 more than nine million families with children under the age of eighteen were being maintained by single mothers, I knew this person had done her research and was going to address things from a real world perspective-not a glorified, shiny, “quick fix” perspective. Not only will I have the book for reference, but there is an online community to reach out to for support through the author’s website, entitled the same.
We will see how it goes, but one thing is for sure, I already feel hopeful by taking this step. And, I have faith that while there will be ups and downs, they will certainly be better than hitting brick walls.
Have any of you had to cry “Uncle!” with your kids? If so, what measures did you take at that point to encourage positive change? Please share!
Life is short…too short not to chuckle about the journey, so c’mon, give it a try. Oh, and thanks, Google, for the awesome photos!