Sunday, July 13, 2008

Family Time part 2-Defending It

We've found at times that our family time together, which we cherish, can sometimes be under assault, and we are not always sure how to defend and maintain it. There is always some social occasion in the woodworks that we always enjoy but compromises what we love best, which is to simply spend time together, alone, as a family. It's tough, because the kids want to play with other kids, it's just that everything changes once this occurs. I don't know what the answer is.

Our friend's daughter and A are good friends, but when she comes over we seem to notice that our kids become a bit more insolent and disorderly. They do things that they wouldn't normally do and question and challenge us more, all because of this friend. No question about it, she's just that way. Okay, fair enough, no kid is perfect, but it's hard to digest when on any other given day, our kids are mellower and more respectful. We find it hard to deal with at times. Coupled with the fact that said friend is a school kid who is prone to boredom and needs to be guided in activities, it changes everything.

Our weekends are precious to us, and we've discovered that we need to defend them. It's interesting how other parents operate. Our friends haven't seen their kids for a week because they are at grandma's house, and the morning of her first day back she's spending the day with us. If it were me, I'd put my foot down and say, "No way, you're hanging out with mom and dad." But things don't work that way in the world.

I've also noticed certain behavior patterns in kids who don't spend a lot of time with their parents, i.e., with grandparents or caretakers. This is a gross generalization so forgive me please, but these kids tend to be subtly manipulative, they know how to get what they want and are not afraid to cross the line in order to get it, challenging adults and skirting respect. They are needy and smart, it's a survival thing. The problem is, they get out kids to act accordingly and do things they don't normally do.

We went to a movie yesterday, Wall-E, our first one as a family and in retrospect we should have gone alone, but it's done. Either way, we found out kids not listening to us and running off ahead, which is treacherous in Hanover because of all the traffic. Normally our kids don't do that, but here they were. Also, the friend can't stop moving, there is a manic quality, again a sign of over-scheduled kids. They can't sit still and be in their own heads, and drag whomever is with them, with them.

What should have been a great family outing simply became a chore, and we've resolved that it's up to us to stand our grand and defend our family time. When you open the floodgates, you'll drown in other people's problems, namely their kids. Not for us, thank you.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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