How my kids prepared me for a cruel world

We live in a world where the ‘opinion’ has more weight than ever before. It’s not only online trolling (although that’s quite possibly the most heinous example of opinions gone wild), it’s in our day to day language “in my opinion…” “I think that…” “why don’t you just…”

As ‘they’ say, there’s no point in feeding the beast, an opinion explosion without fuel will soon pass and move onto another topic. So, when the subject matter of the opinions of others we are left with two choices (1) to turn quietly inward and critique every, single little thing that led to this circumstance or (2) to just ignore it until the noise goes away.

Neither are easy, however with practice and some great coaches it can become easier.

Where does one find these coaches you may ask?

It’s simple.

Child birth and beyond.

If you don’t have any children go out and borrow some, you’ll find them in plentiful supply as their gutted parents cower in the corner trying to knit together the last shreds of their self-esteem.

Of the many things I’ve wanted for my children over the years, the things that sit on the top of my ‘good parent guide’ follow:

  1. The ability to clearly express themselves
  2. A no fear approach to standing up for what they believe in
  3. The strength to speak up when something isn’t right
  4. A willingness to embrace new experiences
  5. To speak the truth, no matter what
  6. And most importantly… kindness

Any skill is learned through practice, the making of mistakes and ultimate success. As any good parent I’ve been lucky enough to bare the brunt of much of this practice.

The day to day rehearsal of these almighty parenting values sounds something like this…

“Are your friends the same age as you?” asked tween “no, they are older” I replied “Oh” she said “really?”

And then this gold “Well I don’t understand how he can be older than you because you look like a grandma next to him.”

Some side notes that are generally delivered on my way somewhere “Is your hairdresser qualified?” “do you have dementia?” “nobody listens to a person with short and curly hair.” “no mum, just no.”

Opinions about my self-presentation are gold in my house “why do you have to smile like that, don’t you know it makes you look like a weirdo?” “you look like a psycho when you do that.” “why didn’t you ask me what to wear before coming to my school?”

And some teen gold “Mum, when I’ve said No Thanks, can you please just walk on.” “just stop talking, you are triggering me.”

As I type I realise just how resilient my children have made me and continue to do so on a daily basis.

Stuff you cruel world, I’m ready for you…

Photo by Hunter Johnson on Unsplash

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