Do you realize as parents that we ask a lot of our little ones?
Specifically, when we go places such as social events. We expect them to be on their best behavior, say “HI” to everyone or “Bye,” and then give either hugs or kisses to them. Don’t react or show feelings because if you do, you’re being bad.
We are asking tiny humans who haven’t experienced this scary world the way we all have for years, to jump into big situations with lots of people around them and to be “normal.” Whatever that actually means.
We expect them to be okay with the overwhelming feeling of everyone looking at them when we can’t handle that ourselves.
My husband and I typically will grab a beer or beverage of sorts to ease our own nerves of a situation we’re uncomfortable in. No, that’s not always the best example to give but it’s what we do. Why are we asking our son to be okay with it if we aren’t? Sure, we’re outgoing when we’re comfortable, but at first, we are the quiet ones too. Children should be given the same expectation we give ourselves in social settings.
I must remind myself this, as well as my husband, when our son seems cranky or acts out it is because he is uncomfortable. It is not because he is tired, hungry, or simply bad. Those are big emotions that he doesn’t know how to handle as much as we don’t either in settings, we aren’t familiar with.
Social events with people he has never met are extremely overwhelming for all of us as a family. Everyone wants to see him and how much he has grown or how much he looks like his dad. *Cue the eye roll from mom*
Think about that from his two-year-old perspective. It sucks.
Strangers, to him, walking up and getting into his face. Other family members reaching out for him to come to them immediately when we get somewhere. Everyone waving to him with giant smiles. I too would be scared and upset if I were him. My own mother will tell you what I say often, “I hate people.”
It’s a strong statement, I know. People are overwhelming and A LOT to handle at times.
My son always warms up, just as we do, once we’re at an event for a bit and he gets a bearing on his surroundings. However, I need to be his voice and sounding board.
If someone begins reaching for him, first of all, he’s two and he doesn’t necessarily want to be held any longer. I’m not certain why that’s hard for some to realize but it is. I speak up as he puts his head into my shoulder and say, “please give him a moment. We just got here, and he needs time.”
Other times, someone asks him to “come here and see me!” or “go play with the kids!” I watch for his reaction to them and see how he assesses the situation with his mannerisms. I, as his mom, know him as any parent knows their child’s reactions to things and how they’re feeling better than anyone else. Then I’ll reassure him if he either wants to do the task or not do it and back him up on it by telling him so. “It’s alright, you can sit here with me until you’re comfortable.”
We need to stop forcing our kids into things. I’m voicing this because I’m guilty of it, as well as my husband.
We ask him to dive into situations and be great and be the good kid. Well, guess what, we need to stop it. If we don’t want to do something, we don’t do it. So why should he? (This is specifically to social events, not in every aspect of parenting)
When we’re leaving and he doesn’t want to give hugs or blow kisses, that’s OKAY! We can say bye for him and see them next time. I don’t even like to give hugs to everyone when I leave somewhere.
Some people understand this and do not mind. Others expect the kids to always love on them because they exist. That’s not happening for my son any longer. They can get over it and I’ll stand up for my child to know when he’s had enough.
He is a small child who is learning this world with mine and my husband’s help. We will protect him and stop asking so much of him in social gatherings. He is perfect the way he is and if you don’t like it, tough shit. 😊
It’s a matter of stating what I know we all feel but most won’t say. I won’t ever apologize for putting my son and family first in all aspects of life. I’m not perfect and I’m learning as I go.