Monday, August 26, 2013

Between Humor and Therapy

My parenting goal is to raise my boys to be somewhere between not having to see a therapist to get over their upbringing, and still have a sense of humor when they are adults.  It's a tricky combination that I sometimes fail at. Luckily, when I don't do the best that I am capable of, they are more than helpful in letting me know of my mistakes.  Teenagers are often thoughtful like that.

The no-therapist goal is a biggie.  How many people do you know that don't need a bit of tweaking to get past Mom or Dad issues? Especially when we are kids and parents are just learning how to do the parenting role.  Even parents hardened by the antics of previous children are challenged  as kiddos never come out the same.  My solution to keeping therapy-need at bay is to:

  • seek honesty
  • attempt compromise over control
  • listen to them and myself when I speak
  • be of service to them without creating a dependent cling-on
  • not be attached to how they turn out as human beings
  • get out of their way and let them explore life in a safe, supportive environment
  • guide only when needed
  • walk the line between minding my own business and knowing if they're doing something harmful  
With those goals in mind, I do my daily best to shuck off the uncivilized part of them so that society will accept them as functioning, productive citizens.  The uncivilized part has evolved over the years from not kicking each other in the face in public, to saying no to designer drugs and weapons of mass destruction. So far, we've each done a good job.

Having a sense of humor, well, that I am over joyed to report has been successful.  Both are funny--thank God/Goddess.  If they weren't:

  •  our dinners would be dull
  • their future happily married life would be over before it began
  • they would not be welcome at Family Reunions
  • High School would be depressing
  • jobs would not last beyond six months. 
While I'll never know if they are secretly seeing a psychiatrist once they leave home, I do know that humor will forever follow them like a pound dog puppy.

When one of the boys at eight years old asked that I not call ketchup and mustard 'condiment' as it sounded too much like condom, he laughed right along with us when we asked him to not make a mess when putting mayo on his hot dog.  In being open to a family joke at his expense, I knew right then that he was going to have a wonderful life.

If you have kids, I highly suggest that you keep an inner parenting goal.  You are welcome to adopt mine as long as you include the one I did not write about: love them no matter what.

Heather Leigh

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