Musings by Nudnik co-founder, and parent, Lindsay Lorusso.
This morning, at school drop off, my 5 year old took his friend’s toy and wouldn’t give it back.
He was running away from me as I was trying to, calmly and with composure, lure him back in front of his friend so he could return the toy and apologize. Instead, when finally caught, he called this child a “cry baby” and threw his toy on the ground.
The child, visibly upset, ran to his parent and there I began; apologizing profusely to everyone within a 30 mile radius for my son’s behavior.
Afterwards, I had choice words in private with my kid. I was rattled and he was rattled because I made a small problem big.
This is what young kids do and I was more concerned with how others were judging me, my child, and my ability to parent, than the actual incident itself.
I decided on something afterwards; I am not going to apologize for my children any longer.
Manners are important and we are instilling them in our children, and modeling them ourselves (most of the time), every day.
Do my children always use these manners outside of our home? No.
My 5 year old is moody, often grumbly in the morning, and has been known to occasionally name-call or toy-snatch or even push or shove.
I’ve come to accept that this is not a reflection of me, or my partner. This is my kid, an individual, who’s being taught one way and trying out another. He’s experimenting.
I will encourage him to apologize himself in the moment but will leave the follow through in his young but capable hands.
My hope is that he will learn, in his own way, in his own time.
He will learn that his sweet, generous, funny, and polite self will reap him many rewards.
He will learn that being mean, cruel and hurtful will not.
So for all the parents out there who know me, or don’t, please don’t judge me when I don’t step in and apologize when my child has snatched your kid’s toy, or has called them a not-so-nice name.
I’m making a conscious choice to let my child figure it out for himself.
I have faith that he will.