Your Kid Needs You To Fill in This Blank

I tell my kids I love them all of the time, but I rarely tell them them what I love about them. Honestly I hadn’t even thought about it until I just read this powerful post. {Trust me, you won’t regret hitting that link and taking the 60 seconds to read it} The post offers one simple suggestion that the author gleaned from another article. {Isn’t it funny how we bloggers just recycle all the good stuff over and over again?} This time the recycled goods is a jackpot of a fill in the blank for parents.

Now normally I wouldn’t welcome fill in the blanks. I swear that the blank state of my mind (not the blank line on the paper) was the real inspiration for the naming of the “fill in the blank”.  I can’t tell you how many times in my life I stared down at a question on a test and silently screamed, “C’mon brain, fill in the *^$# blank! I know the answer is in there somewhere.” I guess I have finally arrived. It only took parenting for me to have a cinch of a “fill in the blank”. I can’t go wrong with this one.

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Oh, so you didn’t click the link and now you are totally curious? O.k. I’ll tell you, you lazy-linkers, but trust me the other article says it much more articulately. All you have to do is say this to your kids: “I love to watch you _ _ _ .” [Fill in the blank with whatever applies.] See what I mean? It’s a parenting jackpot. You can’t go wrong.

I just went into my photos to find one appropriate for this post and I came up with all kinds of ideas.

“I love to watch you ride a skateboard.”

“I love to watch you blow bubbles.”

“I love to watch you hit your sister.” (O.k. maybe that one isn’t so good, unless you are raising future boxers and then it would be your own personal gem.)

The originally cited article tackled the difference between nightmare and great sports parents. It too is a great read even for the parents with non-athletic kids. Basically it communicates that kids don’t want to be critiqued, they want to be loved and supported. Don’t we all?

I remember one time after I pulled off a significant event at the kids’ school, my husband said to me, “I love watching you in your element.” I still tear up just thinking about him saying that and it was over a year ago. It made me over-joyous that he recognized my actions and affirmed them. With one simple sentence, he perfectly communicated that he was happy to be an integral part of anything I did even if it was just to watch from the sidelines.

Last Saturday while attending my 11-year-old niece’s soccer game I witnessed something really disturbing. A soccer coach belligerently took personal jabs at a 16-year-old referee. He told him he sucked and had no business reffing. He then said, “You have no social skills” among a myriad of other insults.

It’s one thing to tell the ref about a bad call you observed and another thing entirely to verbally abuse a person. Watching this out-of-control coach made me sick to my stomach. After the parents starting joining in too, I hollered from the goal-zone where I was sitting, “Chill out.” A few minutes later as the game ended, the coach walked down my direction and yelled at me to take my “chill out” and shove it. Oh, no he didn’t!! I stood up and called down all the powers of calm from the universe. I walked over to the coach who kept yelling at me to remove myself from his sideline. I calmly said, “I am just a mom here watching a game, I am not here to support either side but the side of the kids. You are being a very bad example to every kid out here. That referee can’t be a day over 16 and I am here to advocate for him.” The parents all started in on me about how bad of a job the ref did, how he is in a role of an adult so he can handle it, la la la. I didn’t even want to be that close to them, they made me sick. I said, “I’m not here to argue. I am just here to be a juvenile advocate”, and then I calmly walked away. On the outside I was a perfect picture of character, on the inside I was shaking like a leaf.

I couldn’t help but think how powerful it would be for every one of those maniacal adults to read the above article about nightmare parents. How sad it was for each of their kids to know that losing a game 6-0 could have the power to turn their parents into insulting and aggressive idiots. After that game not one of them could even tell their kids in honesty that they loved to watch them play because their cruel actions spoke way louder than their words.

Now, I am not here to peg me (the perfect parent) against them the non-perfect parents. We all have dark and light and my dark moment was just three weeks earlier when I railed into my fourteen-year-old after her soccer game for not playing to the best of her ability. As she walked with her dad to his car (to avoid me) after my good licking on the sideline, I felt like crap. I immediately called her and apologized but the damage had been done. We talked later with her and our other girls and they all told me they didn’t need my opinion about everything. I over-critique and they complained that I even over-compliment. The nerve! Ouch. They didn’t know exactly how to tell me, but what they really were saying is this: “Mom, all we want to hear is that you love to watch us play.” Thank you parenting article for making my duty clear and for giving me the right words. All I have to do is fill in one blank for the rest of my life. I can’t wait.

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