Scraped knees and elbows, sunburns, bumps and bruises — summer tends to lend itself to more than the average number of childhood scrapes and ailments. Parents throughout time have all had their own ways to help children deal with them – to learn to cope with minor scrapes and injuries without calling 911 or having a major meltdown. As we dealt with another minor wound, today, I started to chuckle thinking about all the ways parents (me included) try to “toughen up” their kids and help them to know when something needs attention and when they can just “shake it off” and move on with life. “Just rub some dirt on it,” was the comment that first came to mind and made me smile; and then I remembered the “cure-all” used by the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. “Put some Windex on it” was his answer for everything from a papercut to acne. – lol Where do parents come up with this stuff? Why do we need to use “this stuff” at all?
I have no clue where we get them, but I am guessing that we are trying to instill a sense of reason in our children. We want them to know the difference between a major deal and a minor inconvenience. We want them to have the ability to self-comfort in situations where the problem is not critical. Now don’t get me wrong. I come from a long, proud line of “drama queens”, I’ve raised a couple or three and I am currently reigning, but I do want my kids to learn to react to situations with common sense and reason.
I promise I have never used dirt OR Windex; however, I learned a long time ago, that whether they are toddlers or nine-year-olds, when I see someone tumble and I can tell they are fine, I never, ever, ever make eye contact. As a matter of fact, if I can pull it off, I turn my back and make believe I didn’t see a thing. I never cease to be amazed how a child who looks around and sees no one watching will pick himself up, dust himself off and be about his business. If you dare to make even the slightest eye contact, though, that same child will melt into a quivering puddle of tears and agony. - lol - Does he need comforting or attention? Who knows? If an “Uh, oh — up, up up. You’re okay,” doesn’t stop the tears, then maybe a little of both and a “make it all better” kiss. I’m not heartless. I just want to know they have the skills to do it on their own if they need to. And for the record, my mommy “make it all better” kisses have incredible healing powers! They have been soothing and healing for a quarter of a century, now ; and I am happy to report, they are as effective on grandbabies as they were on our kids.
How about you? How do you know when to intervene with first aid and “magic kisses” and when to “Just rub some dirt on it”? What is the best technique you’ve learned for helping kids to know when to “shake it off” and when to ask for help?