If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am dedicating the whole month of July to parenting. And if you don’t, know you know too. Lol. I find that too many new parents feel as if they don’t have anyone to turn to when they have “parenting woes”. Shoot, us seasoned parents don’t always have people to turn to that won’t judge us also! So I wanted to dedicate this whole month to issues, topics, and concerns that parents might have but are afraid to speak on. And I promise I won’t judge, so feel free to send me your messages and if I have an answer I will gladly help you out.
So- my most recent past time with the kids is keeping my son from playing with his penis blatantly in front of people, and helping them understand that they cannot say certain things out loud. Let’s tackle the latter first. Children have absolutely no filter. I am learning that more and more as they get older. I cannot get mad- they don’t understand why what they say is wrong; they’re just curious and want to know why something happened. For example- I used to take my next door neighbor’s children to school. They attended the same school as my daughter and I hate children walking alone so it was a no brainer for me. Every morning one of my children would go knock on their door and tell them that we are ready to go. Well, one morning while on our way to the school, my daughter bursts out and says” why is your house so dirty?” I honestly feel like the whole car instantly got quiet. I might be crazy, but I believe even the radio dimmed down for a few seconds.
I said, “Bell, that isn’t nice”.
And she replied, “no but mommy their house is really dirty”.
“Bella, I said that isn’t nice. Please stop!”
“But mom, our house is so clean and their house has stuff everywhere. They need to clean up.”
“Bella, I asked you to stop!”
Neighbor’s son: “Na uh, our house was dirty that day but it’s clean now!”
Bella: “no, it’s not. I just saw it”
Neighbor’s daughter: “well, we cleaned downstairs, now just upstairs is messy”
Car: dead silence. And I swear the radio shut off too! Lol!
I always drop my neighbor’s kids off first because I walk my daughter into her classroom, so when they got out I finally spoke to my daughter and helped her understand that she wasn’t in trouble, but she made the other kids feel bad when she said something about their house. I explained that not everyone cleans their house like we do, and sometimes mommy’s are too tired to clean. Just like sometimes our house is messy and I have to clean it or pay someone to clean it for me. Her response? “Well, maybe they should pay someone to clean their house too”. I burst out laughing- this little girl is something else!
Another example do you ask? Sure, why not. I have a neighbor who only has one arm. My kids see him all the time. He talks to us daily and even gives the kids pastries or ice cream occasionally. I guess those things shadowed the fact that he only has one arm. Until one day… I was getting the kids and I out of the car and into the house and my neighbor asked if I was still selling my car. I said yea. From behind me, my son yells out “Hey! What happened to your arm? It’s missing!” I froze. Two seconds later, I had to put my hand over my mouth to keep me from bursting out laughing. Of course I wanted to know the same thing, but I wasn’t about to ask him that! Lol. *In case you’re wondering, no he didn’t answer him*. Teaching our children to be mindful of what they say, how it can affect others, and being appropriate in our questions can be extremely hard. Especially if they are young like mine. I just have to keep reminding them.
Now for the pee-pee playing. This little guy has figured out that he can play with his penis, make it hard, and it feels good. So he does it- everywhere! He used to come out of the shower and take lotion and play with his penis in front of my daughter’s face. After constantly telling him no and stop, I decided on a different approach. I spoke to his therapist and we both agreed that we should redirect him- not to stop doing it (because that’s the age where they learn what it is, that it feels good, and that it’s not just for peeing) and explaining to him WHEN and WHERE he can do that. So I had a talk with him and told him “if you feel like you want to play with your penis (yes- we use the actual word), you need to take a few minutes and go into your room because that is a private thing and other people do not want to see you do it”. I didn’t criminalize him or the act, just simply explained that it’s only for him and when he’s done then he can come out and finish whatever he was doing. So now every night after he takes a shower, if I see him lingering in his penile area too long, I ask him does he need a few minutes to go play with it. The very first time he looked scared as he was walking away (I think he thought it was a test! LOL!), but now he knows. If it’s pee-pee playing time, we go to our room. When he’s done, he comes back and finishes lotioning his body for bed. And it works. No more inappropriate behavior and everyone is happy.
I admit- I handled it wrong at first. I yelled, I punished him, I probably made him feel bad about it. And the minute I realized that I was not approaching the issue correctly, I sought help to fix it. Had I not spoken to their therapist to help find a solution to the problem, I might have associated a negative reaction to him playing with himself (which is totally normal). That wasn’t what I wanted. I just wanted him to understand that he could do it as long as it was in private. Seeking that help for a solution saved us from having an issue every night. There is power in asking for help, so don’t think you have to parent alone. I still have hella grey hairs because of them though. Lol. Seeking parental advice is always for you and the child(ren)’s benefit. It won’t make you any younger, but it will make your job as a parent a lot easier. Let’s build this village, together.
As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!