Noah had a friend sleep over last night. The two boys played happily (and loudly) until the wee hours. Amy got kicked out of the boys playing early in the evening. First, she asked me, then Doug, then the boys again if she could please go back in Noah’s room (denial). Everyone said no. Then, she stood at Noah’s door and pounding with both of her fists while howling in rage,
“Stella” “Noah” (anger). Then she sat by the door with her little fingers poking underneath and into Noah’s room. “I just want to play a little bit” (bargaining). This was followed by dramatically throwing herself at my feet to sob through the tears (depression) before finally stumbling back to her room to play with Evan(acceptance). As I watched her display, I thought about different parenting styles.
Different parenting styles have become increasingly apparent as we deal with more of the children’s friends and involve ourselves in more of their activities. I always maintained that every parent should be allowed to parent their child and live their life however they think is best for their own family. The problem with this is that those other parenting styles overlap and directly effect MY family’s life.
Back to the offended Amy. I was entertained and intrigued by Amy’s display, but I never once felt the need to intervene other than playing my part in the drama by agreeing that the boys could kick her out. Another parent would have insisted that the boys open their door and include Amy in their play. A different parent would have made herself Amy’s playmate. Peek many years into the future. The parent who demanded her child be included is still demanding that her child be included and when denied access, she tries to go over the heads of teens, parents, teachers or anyone who she feels has failed to included her child in anything and everything. The parent who made herself her child’s companion has a teen who thinks that all interactions should be done her way, like they are when she’s with her mother-friend. The parent who ignored her child’s misery has a child who looks for other alternatives when faced with obstacles.
In the end, Amy played with Evan a little, she and I played with her Little People toys, she watched a cartoon and she spent some time playing quietly with tiny bobble-headed animals. She even got to spend some time playing nerf guns with the older boys. As I field phone calls and unannounced visits from parents complaining about how their child is being treated at school or other activities, I just don’t think they have a transition plan in place for tapering off and letting their children stand on their own two feet. Will they be calling their adult children’s college professors or bosses? When does it stop?