Life isn't often sunshine in our house of neurodivergence. We have to navigate struggles between kids more often than we experience the quiet repose of children playing kindly together. I feel like a failure when my kids don't calmly entertain themselves or work out struggles on their own. I take it personally. My husband, Leigh, knows I do. He had to tell me, though! I didn't realize I was letting their squabbles affect me so deeply. Leigh also told me I was micromanaging them and always stepping into their conflicts. I needed to step back and let them handle it. Also, that either I need to let them do their chores and stop nagging, or do them myself. We have a wonderful relationship, but this conversation didn't go well. I am sure you can imagine why. My husband telling me that I was too involved in our children's lives and needed to step back!? That had to go perfectly well, right!? Nope. Not even a bit. I was very offended. I felt he was accusing me of parenting incorrectly. Further, he told me my reactions to our children's issues was adversely affecting our marriage relationship. You know the one we work hard to maintain so we aren't strangers to each other when the kids leave our home. I took all this very poorly to say the least. I had to remember the reflexive listening our marriage counselor taught us prior to exchanging nuptials. I had to take deep breaths and confront what was in me. I had to admit that I was being adversely affected by the kids' conflicts. Once I had, we were able to move forward to solutions. In part, I have to breath and let it go. In part, I need to let the kids practice what I have taught instead of letting them off easy by solving things myself. They now have incentive for finishing their chores. With privilege comes responsibility. And with responsibility, power. They may use their free time in any way they choose including video games (eek!), but their chores must be fully completed without any nagging from Leigh or me. We will check to ensure completion, then swiftly remove the freedom if we find negligence. They are accountable to themselves. And a bit to each other. We are empowering our children to grow up and become who they are. We are empowering ourselves to focus on our marriage so the children see strength there and can learn to get their own. We are a team. We work hard to be such.
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