Jul 022012

In Little Town on the Prairie, Carrie Ingalls says, “There is no comfort anywhere for anyone who dreads to go home.”

And since my daughter is only two, it’s hard for me to imagine her ever dreading coming home.

Yet we’ve all seen it.

The teenager who knows all his home guarantees is a checklist of things to improve: his grades, his hygiene, the cleanliness of his room. He dreads the negativity, the constantly unmet expectations.

The adolescent girl who understands she’ll walk home from school and find no one to talk to, no one with whom to truly connect. She dreads the small talk, the silent dinners, the absence, the facade.

The child who sees his home as a battle zone rather than a respite. He dreads the chaos, the competition, the noise.

It’s highly doubtful their parents intended to create an unwelcoming atmosphere. They may not even recognize what has happened.

But intentions aside, the reality remains.

My prayer is that my intentions will meet reality. That though my parenting will be far from perfect, our daughter will find our home a place of affirmation, connection and respite.

And it starts now.

By seeing teaching opportunities rather than silly childlikeness.

By finding pleasure in what she finds pleasure in – even if it means getting out of my comfort zone.

By creating an atmosphere of loving support and gentle correction.

Because someday she’ll no longer be two. And what I want and what I say won’t matter nearly as much as the atmosphere I’ve created.

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 Posted by at 12:01 am

  9 Responses to “Will Our Kids Want to Come Home?”

  1. Wow, what a great reminder. I have been thinking a lot about this lately. My 6yo wants to spend all day outside with friends and I am left wondering if there are reasons he doesn’t want to come home. Maybe he doesn’t like being here. It is pretty much chaos here. I know I yell too much. The house is always a mess. I have 4 kids ages 2, 3, 4, and 6 and a husband that is fine with the mess as long as it doesn’t interrupt his computer game-playing. I don’t know what I should be doing to make him want to stay here. It seems like if I try to keep the house as clean as I would like then I am cleaning ALL THE TIME. I don’t know, maybe it’s not me, or the mess, maybe he is just at that age where he needs his friends.

    • You’re clearly a caring parent because you’re taking time to think about these things. I definitely think age and personality has a lot to do with it. I’m an introvert and can stay home for long stretches but one of my brothers goes crazy if he stays in one place for any extended period of time. Plus, I think friends tend to be more fun than mom at this age.

      There’s a huge difference between wanting to play with friends all day and dreading coming home (as opposed to dreading having to do those, oh so cumbersome, tasks for a 6-year old such as eating and sleeping and cleaning up). And for what it’s worth, I think a clean house with four small children is an oxymoron. :)

  2. I love this. I always wanted to have the family where kids respect and love their parents and really want to be at home. I want him to feel connected to us and actually want to spend time with us, and not roll his eyes or dread coming home.

    Thankfully I had that with my own home growing up. Sure, in college I preferred subletting an apartment rather than going back home for the summer, and maybe I had hurt my mom’s feelings, especially as I was adamant about my room not being my room anymore. But overall I loved (and still do) coming home and feeling the usual comforts it brings.

    • “Sure, in college I preferred subletting an apartment rather than going back home for the summer…”

      In many ways I think that’s just further testament to the good job your parents did raising you. What more can parents want than a confident young adult who is ready to strike out on her own?

  3. I have to admit that I hesitated reading this post when I read the subject line. Even now, my chest is pounding with the confirmation that I am guilty of creating negativity as you so gently and lovingly expressed. I do place too much focus on grades, clean room, hygiene, etc. As my son grows into adulthood, I find myself second guessing all of his formative years, did I teach him this, or that, or what if, etc. Thank you for the challeng. My prayer is that I begin today being mindful of creating a positive atmosphere with loving and gentle guidance!

    • Thanks for your transparency, Kay. I think it’s natural to second guess, but as I mentioned to Becky above, your willingness to think through the atmosphere you create speaks volumes.

  4. This speaks straight to my heart. Great post Steph!

  5. [...] Will our kids want to come home? [...]

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