Let Your Kids Call You a Poopy Head
I know this may seem an odd thing to say but after 13 years of parenting 3 kids across each developmental stage I have learned a lot about "potty talk," and being called names.
I try to be very intentional and thoughtful about the behaviors I try to correct because I have seen a difference in both my confidence as a parent and my children's level of comfort and contentment being themselves with me.
With my first I would put on a fake firm face and tell him that wasn't nice or that we don't use that word or call people names. By my third (currently 3) I laugh and squish my face up saying, "oooh stinky!"
What changed? I realized that this is both a way for children to have control and to feel like they are living on the edge- dipping their toes into the taboo world of name calling. It makes them feel alive and a little bit naughty. And that's ok.
I am the adult. I know it's not personal. I know it's age appropriate and developmental and is neither a reflection of either my parenting nor their lack of role modeling. It's just what kids do for a while and then they don't.
As a parent I've had to really think about my feelings when my kids say something, my gut reactions, my innate desire to "correct their behavior," or tamp down their natural sense of self for the sake of what society deems is right. I've realized that just because society has ingrained in many of us that we don't name call, the truth is that is exactly what kids do when they are angry or frustrated or silly or feel out of control. And the less of a big deal I make of it the easier our relationship is and the stronger their autonomy and confidence is in themselves.
I try to be very intentional and thoughtful about the behaviors I try to correct because I have seen a difference in both my confidence as a parent and my children's level of comfort and contentment being theirselves with me. They know they can call me poopy head, tell me they hate me, and have a total melt down and I will still love them and accept them. They trust in me enough to fall apart completely and know I will be there to help them put their pieces back together.
This doesn't mean we allow all name calling or that anything goes- it just means that I have made intentional choices about what is acceptable and what isn't based on what I know of child development and parental attachment. It didn't all happen in one day or without some doubt that I was doing the right thing. But over time I just let go of my need to control aspects of their behavior for the sake of society and it's worked out well.
How do you feel about your children calling you names?