Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Seemingly Small Struggles Spread and Scorch

I've been having a rough time lately, but really it has been building up for a while.

I love my daughter dearly, my Lil Munchkin is a super smart, super silly, and just plain incredible little girl. But she's got a lot of problems that I'm feeling overwhelmed about. It's like I'm swimming in a huge lake with undertow that just won't let go, and no safety rafts to help me along.

A lot of parents feel like they can't help anymore, and I have joined their ranks. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying, it just means I need to try harder.

My Lil Munch had a rough few years when she was a toddler, and I didn't realize it until it was too late. Guilt over what happened lead me to buy her everything from age 4 until 7 (and a bit more, sometimes...), and lead me to let go of the little things that didn't really seem important.

I let her get away with a little bit of kleptomania, and now it's gotten worse. She got everything and then some, but has no concept of ownership, or value of belongings. Because WonderWife and I tried so hard to make up for what she missed, we overshot by a long shot. We ignored the signs, we pretended it was just a phase.

But it isn't.

My daughter stole my iPod touch from me while getting a hug, and is not giving it back. She seems to have convinced herself that she has forgotten where it is, but this little girl doesn't forget where she put ANYTHING. Literally, it's kind of insane how well she remembers where she puts everything.

It hurts me so badly that she would do this, but I see why she thinks that it's okay. We let her believe, and we showed her, that things had no real value. Items are just items that can be bought, replaced, thrown away, and bought again.

It started with taking little trinkets for WW's hat (where she keeps all of her pocket stuff), a lighter or a stick of lipbalm. Now it has grown to electronics. Why didn't I accept that this could happen? No sense in looking back, hindsight is 20-20.

This is just an example of how a little parenting oopsie can explode.

This is how kids who are given everything end up spoiled with no respect for items or belongings.

This is what happens when you believe that your child is just purely innocent and would never do anything wrong.

Kids do things wrong, that's how they learn. It is up to us as parents to teach them and guide them so that they can improve and do better. Kids can't know better if we never show them. Children are ever-learning sponges who only know what they want and that they want it, it is up to us as parents to teach them self-control, honesty, values, morals, and relationships.

So don't let the littles things slide, make sure that you catch the mistakes when they're small, because they are so much easier to deal with.

Help your child learn what is right while it's a fresh occurence, not a recurring habit. You will never regret it.

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