Say to yourself, “S/He’s only ___ years old. S/He’s still a child.” Then treat her/him that way.
What happens when you don’t quite pass a challenge? Because honestly I’m not sure if I was even able to apply this one today. I know in the past there have been several times that I have put undue pressure on Mason to act her age – probably even a few years older. Being the oldest, we have high expectations for her. We understand it’s not fair. We’ve been trying to be better about it and when she acts like the 7-year-old that she is, we want to compliment her. Today was not one of those days. I actually had to deal with two very different ends of the spectrum.
This morning Mason had to visit a pediatric ophthalmologist because she had failed her eye exam at her last physical. I was worried she would get freaked out when they had to put the dilation drops in her eyes. But she surprised me with her calmness and poise through it all. While waiting for the doctor to return, we had great conversations, and Mason acted like a true 7-year-old (perhaps even 8 or 9!) That was one end of the spectrum.
But then evening time came, her “brother” (lately a bad word in her mind) returned home, and everything changed. She started acting like a 4-year-old girl. How could I treat her like the age she is when she was regressing to a former time? Yes, she is still a child, and her emotions are up and down, but when I don’t even get a glimpse of the 7-year-old inside, we have problems. This was the other end of the spectrum.
So I can’t really say that I passed or beat this challenge. I’ll hold onto it and remember it for the next time I have too high expectations for my children. I’ll remind myself that they are just children and that they still have so much to learn. And then I’ll hug them and relish in every moment when we can all (Mom and Dad included) act our ages and get along.