Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Harsh Reality

As parents, it is our job to try and not only cushion our children against the more brutal of life's punches, but at the same time, give them enough independence that they can function well independently of us. It's a fine line we walk -- do we let them take the hard knocks life has to dole out, or do we shelter them? Sometimes, it comes down to picking and choosing your battles.

Do you intercede when, for instance, there's a bully taunting your kid? If you do, you run the risk that your child gets further humiliation heaped upon him because Mommy fights his battles. Or, do you let some knuckle-dragging, Cro-Magnon throwback torture your child all for the sake of "toughening" him up? There's no real answer that you can point to as the definitive. It seems like, no matter what you do, this whole parenting thing sets you up for nuggets of pure pain nestled among the times of joy. I wouldn't trade my child, or the experience of having her, for anything, but it might be nice if kids came equipped with a manual. I mean, some of the people that I've seen interacting with their kids -- I wouldn't put ANYONE with some of these people, but you gotta be specially liscensed to catch fish? Who made up those rules?

Offspring is my pride and joy. I'm so proud of her -- how can I not be? She's a wonderful, compassionate, loving, intelligent girl. How can you NOT love a child like that? Oh, right....you all are going to say I'm biased. Well, you're right. I am biased, but there are plenty of other adults in her life that attest to the fact that she's a pretty neat kid, and very few of them are related to her. She's never a problem at school. She's been in the Gifted classes since kindergarten, and brings home award after award for excellence in her schoolwork. She's got a very kind heart -- often comes home distraught over the problems of others. She always thinks about what other kids her age have, or don't have. She loves animals, and has said for years that she wants to be a vet when she grows up. She's always quick with a hug to anyone who's feeling down, and she's the first one to tell you you did a great job when she thinks you're not very confident. She will often hole up in her room for hours to make cards for her family, or to draw us a picture.

That's why it hurts so much when she feels she's been slighted. I shouldn't really complain, though, because I'm the same way. I take negative comments to heart, and I worry myself crazy, trying to think of ways to make myself better. Offspring came home today, in tears because she wasn't chosen for her school's Quiz Bowl team. I tried to explain to her that not everyone could be chosen, and that it was no reflection on her that she wasn't picked. It was just the luck of the draw. She explained that there were eleven students eligible, and only four slots. I consoled her, and tried to explain that that this means that everyone can't participate, of course, and I'm sure her teacher wasn't trying to make her feel unworthy by not choosing her. Offspring feels that she's now "not smart enough", and no matter how much I try to explain to her that this is simply not true, she equates not being chosen with "not good enough."

I hug her and console her, and tell her that she's the same, smart, wonderful person that she always has been. I try to let her know how hard it is for the teacher who has eleven bright, wonderful students -- how does she choose? I soothed her, but part of me wanted to rail at the teacher. How can she NOT choose my obviously brilliant child? I know this is the Mama Bear aspect of me, just wanting to lash out and hurt the person who hurt my child, but I know this is only the reaction to my baby's distress. I want to insulate her from life's hurts, and it's so hard to let her experience the pain that comes from living life. And, I somehow think the idea of wrapping them in Bubble Wrap won't even protect them.

11 comments:

liz said...

I'm sorry. Not being picked really sucks. Especially when the person doing the picking is the teacher.

I hope she did something like pick the names out of a bowl.

ccw said...

Big hugs for Offspring.

jo(e) said...

Oh, that is absolutely one of the toughest parts of being a parent. There will be times when your kid feels hurt or disappointed -- and you cannot protect him or her from those feelings because learning to deal with those feelings is part of growing up.

I think this kind of thing is harder on parents than it is on kids.

So hugs for you today ....

Yankee T said...

Hugs to both of you, KLee. It is, without a doubt, the hardest thing in parenting, watching your child feel hurt. You are a good mama. I'm sorry you're having a bad parenting moment.

Songbird said...

KLee, it sounds like you said exactly the right things. It feels awful now, but your affirming and matter-of-fact response will stay with her. Good work, Mom!

halloweenlover said...

I'm so sorry Klee, I can completely understand wanting to call that teacher and point out her lunacy. And Offspring sounds like the most wonderful daughter. She is such a sweet soul. I hope you are both feeling better soon.

Anonymous said...

Am I correct in assuming that this is an annual event and that, therefore, Offspring will have another opportunity to participate next year? If so, then she has plenty of time to prepare. I realize that this is small consolation to her at the moment but with her brains, competitive spirit, and her parents' love and support, I'm sure she will do well.

Best of luck (and hugs) to all of you on this matter!

La Binsk

Anne Glamore said...

Yep-- we're having a deal with kids potentially leaving one of my boys out of their gams on the playground. He's less socially mature than his brother. I can't make them play with him and I don't want to draw attention to it-- I have to teach him how to handle the situation himself. It's just very hard to listen to him talk about it.

KLee said...

Thanks, all for all your words of support. I know it's a form of parental madness for wanting to go head to head with the teacher. But, I know that not all the kids can participate, and I hate it that she wasn't one of them.

I'm not sure if she can participate next year or not, but I told her that one way to alleviate the feeling that she wasn't good enough was to go to the teacher, and offer herself as an alternate, in case one of the chosen kids couldn't end up participating. That seemed to make her feel a bit better.

I hate for her to have to learn life's lessons the hard way, but that's the way we all have to learn them.

purple_kangaroo said...

It's obvious you're a great mom who's done a good job raising such a sweet girl.

purple_kangaroo said...

Whose, not who's. Ugh. It's almost 2:30 a.m.--can you tell? LOL.