Little Kids, Little Problems; Big Kids, Big Problems

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April 4, 2018
Wendy Kaufman

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We all love our kids…and we even like them most of the time. But there are always going to be the phone calls no parent wants to receive. Does anyone want to hear that their first-grader cheated on his sticker chart? Or that their four year old daughter opened the Birthday Girl’s presents at a party? Certainly not I…

Every time I called my mother to bemoan my small children’s misdeeds, she would remind me of my grammie’s sage advice: little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems.

The bottom line is that good kids do bad things. Over the 18 years they live in your house, they are going to do a lot of bad things. They will use their tiny sticky fingers to swipe earrings from Claire’s Boutique while perched in their strollers. They might swing a chain onto a sibling’s eyebrow necessitating stitches. They could play with matches in someone else’s desert vacation home or engage in sunscreen warfare at a friend’s house…in the formal living room. Hopefully, you and your kid’s friends parents have good home owner’s policies, because trust me – these things do happen. 

And as kids get older their missteps increase exponentially. There are the traffic incidents. How is it possible to have four licensed drivers and four totaled cars without a scratch on their four blessedly healthy bodies? Teenage children sneak out at night and toilet paper other people’s houses. One might even have left a flaming poop bomb on a doorstep. They drink alcohol until they vomit on the kitchen floor, in a friend’s car, or on a beach in Destin, Florida. They flunk their physical education semester exam.  I mean really…you get an “A” in math and an “F” in gym? When will it end?!

And then, it does end. The poop bomber graduates college, gets a job, apartment and dog in a new city. Voila! When you weren’t looking, he became a man. The birthday party bandit becomes the child most likely to bring you presents. The chain thrower nurses her friends through sickness and bad break ups. And the phys-ed flunkie miraculously makes the tennis team. Don’t you just love a happy ending?

Kids screw up. We screw up. We need to pick them up, dust them off then point our children in the right direction. Our offspring won’t be great all of the time, but we can teach them how to be better. Our job is to love them through it all.