I’m glad he won’t remember this…

Spring Picture Day 2013 – My favorite Boy

One of the things I’ve found that really knocks me out of my comfort zone is the phrase, “I’m glad they won’t remember this…”

I usually hear it in reference to parents disagreeing over child-rearing tactics while their kids are still crawling, drooling, and oblivious.

But it’s one of the many things I can never utter. E will always remember.

Being an 8-year-old, he is currently gathering memories and feelings to keep forever. I don’t remember specifics about being eight. I’m sure I could come up with some stories, especially if I had my memory jogged by looking at awkwardly awesome photographs from the 90’s. However, if I think back to my childhood, I can definitely remember when my parents argued, how much they argued (thankfully not that much), and how it was resolved or wasn’t. I especially remember the feeling I felt when they didn’t get along perfectly.

Keeping that in mind, I assume that arguments Tyler and I have will be logged in his memory, and whether he remembers them specifically or remembers the feelings he felt when we argued, it doesn’t matter.

I want Tyler and I to suddenly be able to disagree with each other, argue well, never lose our temper, and quickly make-up with much grace and forgiveness, for our own sake as well as E’s sake.

How Tyler and I respond to each other will influence how E responds to us. We don’t have 3-4 years of parenting before our child remembers what we say or the general tone of the household. We have a child who says, “Please get along,” when we barely discuss things and aren’t even upset with each other or offended.

It’s also problematic if we just get along to get along. If we disagree on something and don’t address it in front of E, but only wait until later to discuss, then he will never learn conflict resolution. If we resolve our conflict, he will learn how to resolve conflict as well.

If we just put it off until later, when he’s sound asleep in his renovated attic bedroom, then he misses out on great opportunities to learn. But I know there is a fine line in him seeing conflict resolution and him seeing my own anger and control-freak issues coming to light when Tyler parents differently (and obviously incorrectly) from my own preferences.

If I don’t show Tyler respect, E will never show Tyler respect. E follows what I model.

So the newly-wed, quick goals for parenting are:
1. When disagreement arises, if the material is suitable, let E hear some disagreement
2. Make sure if E does hear disagreement, to resolve is ASAP (also in front of him)
3. If I don’t agree with Tyler’s decision-making at all in regard to E, zip my lip and save it so E will respect Tyler(this is the hardest by far)
4. Love, Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness, Sympathy, Compassion – These are words to live out daily as I interact with my family. They are words I hope my family will remember when interacting with me.