Confident Children

I hate that my kids are confident.

Yeah it means I’m probably a decent parent, but there are drawbacks…
I will be completely up front about my hesitation as my oldest girl of four girls just entered teenage-hood. In a couple of years I may be the guy on the couch of the shrink saying “It was all going great until one day….”

..A common tale in parenting..

No it didn’t all happen in a day, it all came out in a day. Most of our parenting disasters have been a long time in the making. You only know what you know and sometimes it’s a lot less than we assume that it is. Why do we always assume we are experts at everything?

I’ve sat with many parents and heard the same thing “It all happened in a day!” while thinking to myself in brackets (No, it didn’t. I remember when you made this decision to raise your kids like this and ignore that etc etc). Nobody wants to have themselves evaluated, easier to blame the school..

Arwen is super confident and easy going, just seems to find her way through the drama. I’ve had some shockingly real conversations with her about the dangers of porn and dating and boys in general (!) as someone in my small group said a couple of years ago “If you don’t talk to them about sex someone else will” (Shutup) (Fine I will, but I won’t like it!). My general strategy right now is “You can tell me anything and I won’t get mad babe. I just care about you. But please tell me?”

Will I be screaming inside of my head one day if I hear something disturbing? (EVERYTHING is disturbing with girls). Yes, I’ll be screaming but doing my best not to look shocked. If it is a conversation then surely there is hope? Locking up secrets or questions inside is the breeding ground for some nasty stuff like addictions, shame and the worst decisions of your life. I’m living by a new code now:

There are no secrets.

That was random and a bonus.

On the ridiculous side of things, Neela bursts into my man cave where mom and I were watching TV (making out:) and, swinging her arms up and down while punctuating her words with tiny exclamation marks, she says “It’s SPRING BREEEEAAAAKKKKKK! Can I stay up and watch one more show???” Big smile.

She knew she had found the right lever and we wouldn’t refuse.

Was she arrogant? Not at all. Confident? Yes. And fun! She knew she had us. I don’t mind kids asking to break the rules, these kids grow up and change the world. Sometimes changing the game means breaking rules that we shouldn’t be keeping in the first place.

Personally I hate rules but was lucky enough to have a mom and dad who had rules that made sense, taught me the principles of life (Never EVER cross a principle son!), but taught me that people surround themselves with comfortable rules that sometimes need to flex with life. Comfort is the enemy of progress. The rules I had when I was 6 changed when I was 10 and 12 and so on… By then I’d been taught how to THINK.

We let our kids fail.

We don’t bail them out or baby them. Neela is seven years old and she can THINK. It’s terrifying because it keeps us on our toes.

One thing I should say is that we never allow bad attitudes at any age. I don’t care who did what to whom, your attitude is your decision. Hurt is not the same thing as getting offended, and if you’re angry you’d better figure out why and sort yourself out quick before you run your mouth to the wrong authority figure. Consequences are consequences and we don’t pay the tab for our kids. We shelter them from evil, but as they get older they pick up the tab for their DECISIONS.

Our girls make DECISIONS. Life is what you make it. Life does not happen TO you, you happen to it. We are not without struggles, but we are not victims. Victims have a way of making victims. I don’t like that.

Neela gets her wish to stay up of course, but a few minutes later she comes bursting in with Ailish right behind her laughing about something. Her next wish is a bit ridiculous and Ailish (11) knows what happens but wants to see it for herself.

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Neela: “Dad, Katie and I can stay up for one more show, but shouldn’t the older girls go to bed at their normal bedtime???:)”

Ahhhh. That’s what Ailish is laughing about.

Confident? Yes. Ridiculous? Of course! She has her cake and wants to eat it too. We have a laugh as I step back in time for similar conversations with my own parents…

“Nice try rat! Get your butt upstairs:)”

I hate having confident kids.. they take so much energy. Oh but the stories we have to tell….

She skips out of the room still swinging her arms with Ailish in tow.

Neela already knew the answer but just wanted to see what we would say.

Corey Kope

Pastor. Father of 4 beauties. Devoted husband, Liverpool fan, and Jesus follower.

3 thoughts on “Confident Children

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