I get so freaking fired up when I read a parenting post gone viral (sounds a bit like girls gone wild! Parenting posts gone wild --- ahhhh!!) Of course the reason is I because I usually don't agree with some or most of said viral post.
Let's start backwards and talk about what Kind isn't. Kind does not equal indulging, spoiling, or overprotecting your child. It is not being a helicopter parent or doing everything for your kids. It's not protecting your child from every pain in the world - be it physical or emotional (as if anyone could ever do this anyway!) Being kind does not mean telling your kid that they are so special that they are better than everyone else. It's not making a stink to their teacher or coach so that they get a better grade or more playing time. Being kind is not buying your kid every toy they ever want in the world. On the other end of the spectrum, being kind is not leaving your kid to fend for them-self. It's not ignoring them, even when you're tired and spent and really just want a few minutes of quiet. It's not leaving them without the resources they need to work out their own problems.
Being kind is listening and helping and supporting. It is meeting with your kid's teacher or coach when your child is struggling. It is validating your kids' feelings and sharing your experiences with them. Being kind is communicating - with your child and those in your child's world. Being kind is helping your kids get things they want - when they are safe and reasonable (and let's not get into what that means just now - I suspect it is going to vary widely). Sometimes this is uncomfortable for us as parents - but it does help us grow as people! Being Kind is expressing love and acting on it. Being kind is being your kids #1 supporter in their good times and bad. It's BEING with them when they do get hurt (because they will). It is being your child's partner and realizing that their thoughts, feelings, and desires are just as relevant - if not more-so - in *their* life.
Being unkind will not lead to a better life for your child. Being unkind will not make the world a better place ever. Being unkind models unkindness - that's all.
Kids will learn the lessons they need to in this life even - I mean ESPECIALLY - if they have kind parents. If they have kind, involved parents by their side they will learn that there is always someone in their corner - someone they can count on to talk to and to help them figure things out (please note I did NOT say "fix" their problems or do everything for them!) Kids will become compassionate, empathetic LEADERS when they are treated this way.
Just. Be. Kind. If it doesn't feel kind - it's not. When you don't know what to do - take a deep breath, or 10. Tell your kids you DON'T KNOW what to do. It's ok to say that. Apologize when you slip up and explode or say something unkind - because we are all human.
It's not complicated. Yes it can be difficult. But I know we can do it! The good news is, the more you do it and the more you see what it brings to you and your loved ones, the easier it is and the better it feels. Please let people know - it is ALWAYS ok to be kind to your child - even when they are screaming and thrashing or whining and lying on the floor unwilling to move. Even when they won't share or say sorry. Even when they seem ungrateful, impatient, and relentlessly needy. It. Is. Ok. They will grow out of it - and then they will know what real kindness is. Kindness is treating another well regardless of their behavior.
ps And can someone please explain to me why the same old stuff goes viral? Are these really fresh ideas and do people really believe that these kinds of ideas are actually new? I don't get it.
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.