Damaging Children 101

My husband and I are damaging our kids.  I know we are.  We don’t mean to, but as much as I read, research, and seek guidance; I’m positive there will come a point in their lives where they will look back and, as they talk about us, will say;

“I used to HATE it when my mom/dad would (fill in the blank).”

I imagine their wife, their psychiatrist or perhaps their cellmate, gasping as they cover their eyes and say;

“Nooooo, you’re kidding.  I’ve never even HEARD of that.”

There was the time for instance, that Steve got angry with the boys at dinner and raised his voice as he commanded:

“Don’t chew with your mouth full!”

I watched the boys stop chewing and ponder what their dad said.  I mean they considered how they could possibly stop chewing with their mouths full.  I’m pretty sure that caused damage.

Then there are my own contributions to their Xanax futures. 

Sammy recently came home and said he had a math test the following day on division and multiplication of decimals. 

“Are you comfortable with that stuff” I asked.

“I am with the division” he said, “but I don’t really understand the multiplication.”

“Okay”, I said, “Let’s do a problem.”

I then proceeded to write:

                    X   12.36

The boy was absolutely dumbfounded.  He couldn’t even do the first step.  I mean he didn’t know the first thing about how to approach the problem.

I freaked out.  How could he possibly be going to school every day and not know the first thing to do in order to solve the equation.  For two hours I ranted and raved, taught, fussed, and cajoled as I taught him every aspect of multiplying decimals.  Finally, after the tears and protestations, he got it.

In bed that night I told him how badly I felt that he was having trouble with math and that I had no idea.  I was so stressed personally and feeling completely out of touch with my kids.  I’d have to quit work, no more blogging, no more facebook.

“That’s IT” I told my husband.  “My focus is back 100 percent on the boys.”

The next day Sammy got off the bus and of course my very FIRST question was

“How’d your test go Sammy?”

“Easy, breezy, pumkin, squeezy” he answered.

“Terrific!” I felt able to breathe again.  “Do you remember any of your questions?”

“Well there was one that that was 19.99 X 2.”

“19.99 X 2?” I said.

“Sam-we were working 4 digit multiplication last night with digits, counting in, estimating etcetera.  That problem was really, really easy.  Were there harder ones like we worked?”

“Nah” he said, heading to the television.

“We haven’t learned that stuff yet.”


Now, I’m not sure if this is an issue of communication, overreaction, or pure mommy guilt on my part.  But I have GOT to figure out the right questions to ask before my liver fails.

Parenting Tip of the Day:

Hey if you’re about to be a new mom, don’t pack and repack a diaper bag every time you’re going out of the house. Buy a double of everything and leave one bag in the car.  Put a pack of diapers in the trunk, single servings of formula (or better yet just breastfeed), some ziplock baggies for those diapers that need to be isolated at your friend’s house, and some bottled water.  That way you can just grab the baby, some clean bottles (if breastfeeding isn’t your thing) and you’re out of the house.  You’ll never have to think “oh darn, I forgot the baby powder” again.  


11 responses to “Damaging Children 101

  1. Ew-that sounds a bit spookey. Good thing I can’t count high enough to hit my number :)…

  2. Really looking forward to those math problems. We are still on counting: “1,2,7,8-9-10!” DO NOT try to convince my kid that the number 3 exists. Hope that changes before he turns three. There may be some sci-fi type ramifications to denying the number that denotes your age (especially when it’s such a small one)

  3. Di,
    You are such a talented writer! This blog is hysterical! Keep up the awesome job. Remember the Irish Proverb, “yesterday is history..tomorrow is a mystery…today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present”. You know sister I was rereading a great book called “Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer” last night. When I think about the challenges of parenting, I am reminded that motherhood is simply a journey of love…it is the most noble of all the vocations because it encompasses EVERYTHING in the forming of a soul’s life on earth. Sooo, “already we are children of God; what we shall be has not yet come to light!”. Become who you are and celebrate the journey! “There is no way to peace; peace is the way.” Much love you brilliant mama!

  4. Ha–Well I know you turned out BRILLIANT so perhaps I’m not making things too hard. HEY get on facebook so I can see you!….d

  5. after all my years of summer school and tutors, maybe THAT was the problem!!
    even after all that I went on to get a master’s of SCIENCE degree….who knew??!! Thanks for putting it in perspective. And yes, therapy is a good thing 🙂
    from one of your former comrades in arms – e

  6. I know–they will–and I’m hoping I’ll be demented enough to not notice …
    Smart move on the extra clothes sunny–the other way is a headache.

  7. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You know we’ll get ours twenty years from now at a Christmas party when they do impressions of our mania over wine and cocktails.

  8. OMG I am so with you. Tooters was reading a book to me the other night and sounded out a really hard word. I was so proud of her because she was having a hard time with reading for a short while there. Then two pages later acted like she had never seen the word before in her life. Then tells me that is not one of the words they learned at school that day so it was just a bonus she even got it the first time.

    As for the parenting tip: I live in the same town as my parents and I gave up packing stuff for her everytime she goes over there for the day or to stay the night. I just went to the thrift store and bought a bunch of clothes and filled up a drawer for them at their house. Saves so much headache when we are in a hurry.

  9. Mary-I feel your pain. Hang in there. Someday he’ll appreciate it…d

  10. It’s funny I should read your blog this morning because I struggled so hard with my teen last night. He hates school and it’s such a struggle to work with him.

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