I went to the park with the girl and the dog the other day. As we were doing our quotidian laps around the green (so the canine can run free), a little girl called Amy started chasing after Jack. She wasn’t really called Amy, but I’ll rename her just in case I ever run into her and her mother again.
From the moment we met Amy, her undoubtedly well-meaning mum showered her with a seemingly endless tirade of “no’s”:
‘No Amy, don’t touch the dog.’
‘Ok, but don’t touch his tail.’ (Generally solid advice, only Jack doesn’t have one)
‘Don’t sit on the picnic blanket!’
‘Don’t take the other girl’s stacky cups.’
‘Ok, take some but you must share.’
No no no, don’t do this, don’t do that.
This applied to everything related to the dog, us on our blanket and another mum and toddler they met after us. I started getting edgy and irritated just listening to this incessant naysaying so imagine how Amy must have felt.
I mean you can’t really feel good about yourself if you are constantly reminded that whatever you are doing is wrong? Doesn’t seem like a recipe for self-esteem to me.
Imagine how I would feel if my day with Rob went something like this:
‘No, don’t fold the laundry like that.’ (Haha, please demonstrate suitable alternatives!)
‘No, don’t do the dishes until you have cleaned the floor.’
‘No, don’t feed Lilly before you have fed Jack!’ (Or was that the other way ‘round?)
‘As a matter of fact, feed no one. Touch nothing. Leave everything in its place. Don’t talk to anyone. I said don’t touch that. And please, can you share?’
You get the picture. An unrealistic scenario, for sure. But what would it be like if other adults constantly spoke to us like we so often speak to our children?
I’ve been doing some reading and research. About children growing up to be rooted within themselves, self-reliant and able to know their own minds. For now suffice it to say that if you want that for your kids (as I’m sure most of us do), then you’re not gonna get there by doing the same old things all over again. A lot of what I am reading is challenging the way I think – massively. It certainly doesn’t seem the ‘easy route’ but OMG, I want all that for Lilly.
Now, as our little park scenario was unfolding, I’d of course be lying if Jack didn’t get told off a fair few times. Mainly for running out of sight. Most vehemently for jumping up on a girl’s bicycle parked in front of the playground and operating its squeaky horn by biting down on the soft balloon-y bit whilst going into absolute fits of terrier rapture. I’d love to have taken a picture prior to curtailing him on his lead but I thought it was bad form.
Guess I’ll have to trust that he won’t be suffering from subsequent low self-esteem.
Doggie therapy, anyone?
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