Tammy Helfrich

Life begins right where you are.

Me first!

First born child.

Incredibly stubborn.

Strong willed.

Wants his way.

Demands to be first.

Pouting

Pouting (Photo credit: dadblunders)

Do you have a child like this? Do you know a child like this? Were you this child?

I am a pretty calm person. I don’t get irritated easily. I have no problem letting others go first. While I am incredibly determined, I do not have the “me first” nature. I’m sure I did at some point, but I can’t remember it.

When I became a Mom for the first time, it took me a while to realize that these were qualities that my first-born has.  Looking back, I see this from very early on. He was not a good sleeper. He did not like sleeping anywhere but his swing. It took trying different things, and talking to other Moms until I realized that it didn’t matter where he slept, as long as he slept!

I have struggled over the years to find a balance with this. It can be difficult. I want him to be determined. I want him to believe strongly in himself and not let others push him around. I want him to realize that he is uniquely made. I want him to know that he can do anything he sets his mind on. I want him to be a leader. But, with all of these things, I want him to understand that he needs to learn to put others first and not be selfish. I find this to be a constant learning battle as a parent.

We’ve been working with him for a long time on this. He’s gotten much better. But, lately, the me first attitude has been out in full force. We take family bike rides together, and he always wants to be first. He has a very hard time letting his younger brother lead. Don’t most big brothers?

A few weeks ago, he had an incident of needing to be first, and ended up tumbling with his brother on their bikes. He was scraped up. And I was irritated! Of course, I checked to make sure he was okay. But this flew out of my mouth. “This is exactly why we tell you that you don’t have to be first! People can get hurt. What were you thinking??”

It wasn’t one of my finest Mommy moments, as I didn’t show much grace. I was so frustrated that he could not understand what we’ve been trying to teach him. It just wasn’t sinking in.

Then it hit me. Aren’t we all like that sometimes?

Until we actually experience the mistake and the hurt associated with hit, we usually can’t learn the lesson. And as parents, I think it can be one of the hardest things we will have to do. Sometimes, we have to let our children fall and suffer the consequences in order to understand these important life lessons.

How do you handle the hard lessons with your children?

1 Comment

  1. I have many, many less-than-stellar mommy moments. I just keep trying, hoping I’ll get better, more grace-filled with each day. My son is my “character-building” child. Some days are great. Others . . .

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