'Tough' Guys?

While our boys might like to play a tad bit rough, we do our best to let them know it's okay not to be tough.



The scene earlier tonight in my household: I arrive home from work to find Keith (age 5) and Nate (2) both naked, save their camo undies and diaper, respectively. “We are wrestlers, Mommy!” Keith screams-—“You are the evil opponent!” Don’t I know it. Nate’s announcement goes something to the effect of, “We wetler, Mommeeeee... Ah-ttak! Nowah!” I drop my bag, fall to the floor, and let them tackle me. Boys. 

Apparently, wrestling is the new “thing” in our household, given the fact that the kids went to their cousin’s WWE-themed birthday party yesterday.
I walked through the door to hear Keith reciting the names of various wrestlers—and Nate repeating these same names in his own verbage; none of them recognizable to me and their dad. I can only hope that they choose to return to their Bob the Builder phase, which I can handle. (They’re awfully adorable in their construction hats.)

As John lifted me from the scene of my defeat, he and I made eye contact, and I recognized his expression—it was that “Who knows?” one. John then broke our telepathic “Are we are failures as parents?” conversation with one of his standard statements: “At least they’re happy and fed, right?”  If there’s a parenting philosophy to which John and I subscribe, it’d be that. We feed them, we shelter them, and a large part of their day is spent enacting various scenarios in various costumes. My house is a mess.

This issue’s feature story on how to how to listen to your kids let me know that perhaps we’re not doing everything wrong. While our boys might like to play a tad bit rough, we do our best to let them know it’s okay not to be tough. Feelings are okay. And talking about them is even better. “Get it all out, Boys,” we say consistently. And they do. And we tell them we will always do our best to understand them, and their point of view. You might think they’re too young for this kind of talk, but we’d disagree. A lot of the time, we just let them go on and on without interrupting. 

According the experts, just knowing that John and I are there to listen will ultimately make my boys stronger individuals in the long run. Maybe they are tough guys, after all. 

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