I recently had a realization come up where I recognized the importance of being careful what we ‘beat’ out of our children (for lack of a better term) … the negative things we see in them are usually but 1 side of a 2 sided coin. The other side of that coin hosting some of the most admirable and beautiful aspects we love about children.
My beautiful little pain in the ass (as I so affectionately call him) can be a very stubborn, resistant, and downright disobedient child. He is also my willful, strong, resilient and courageous, gutsy ‘little ass kicker’ (Daryl walking dead reference).
Being mindful of the many things we see in our children that annoy and trigger us… those things we wish to alter or, ‘beat’ out of them… are often the very same things we love about them as a person … re-contextualized.
That stubborn, resistant, rebellious streak that pisses me off so, is also what makes him such a strong, willed, independent little man. One that likes to pursue what feels best to him over following of others. He expresses what he thinks and feels and has the desire to stand up for it.
These are all traits I wish to further encourage in him! Attributes of the leader he may become in the future and not just a follower of the masses.
Yet those same aspects are the ones that piss me off when he isn’t listening, prioritizing his own desires over my instructions, etc.
To eliminate one side of the coin is to risk eliminating the other … a child who talks back (and seen as disrespectful towards their parent at times) is also an outspoken individual, who speaks out for the things they believe in.
Beating that one aspect out of them, risks destroying the admirable traits in them, that will be needed in the long run.
When seeing that, I realize these characteristics are one and the same, just opposing sides of the same coin.
When my need for discipline (and/or maybe my own control issues), make me feel the need to check my kid, control him and make him conform… I also risk ‘beating’ some of the most badass things about this kid, out of him.
Aspects of himself that makes him an awesome person and will make him even more capable in adulthood.
When my own ‘toxic masculinity’ issues rise up and tell me to stop allowing him like and play with dolls or unicorn, or colors like pink and yellow because they are soft and ‘for girls’ … I risk eliminating aspects of himself that add to his kindness and caregiving, or his artistic inclination (what good is an artist with a limited and restricted palette?).
It is sometimes difficult to see. To recognize how many of the things we love about our children, that when aimed against us, drive us to feel like it is a fault, to ‘beaten out of them’.
Yet when we have the eyes to see… in perspective… we can make the effort to avoid damaging and setting back our children, years in confidence, self-esteem mental development, etc.
This realization turned out to be a powerful reminder, that when we mindfully observe, the good and the bad, for what they are… opposite sides of a single coin, we become empowered to rise above them.
As it pertains to childraising… we are empowered to determine how to best guide our kids in the ways that we need… without destroying some of the most beautiful aspects of them.
Peace and luv yahll!
** The term(s) ‘beat, beating, beat out of’, etc used in this piece is not literally referring to child abuse (physical or otherwise). These terms were used, for lack of a better term. Referring to whatever disciplinary or punitive approaches one might take in order to get their child to conform. The Culture Of Dad in no way supports or advocates the ‘beating’ of children.**