You know that funny video, “It’s not about the nail…”?
Sometimes I have felt like that, when talking to some of my friends about my kids’ issues.
People always want to offer advice to fix the issues or to fix my parenting.
I have a friend who was clearly annoyed at our video (“Sh*t Moms of Kids with ‘Issues’ Say”) and the fact that we seemed to be “pampering” or catering to or being manipulated by our children. Her child had had some similar issues, particularly with regard to homework, and she had cracked the whip. She clearly thought I should have done the same.
It’s very true that there are techniques I probably could have used to address that issue more effectively.
And to her, I was (and am) just like the woman in the video … sitting there with a very obvious nail in my forehead, and ignoring the very obvious – and very simple – solution:
It’s so obvious! What’s your problem? And why are you sitting there complaining about it? Just pull it out! Crack the whip and make him do the homework! No ifs, ands or buts about it!
BUT. The real issue for me, and the real issue for this blog, is that IT’S NOT ABOUT THE HOMEWORK.
The homework issue, and the phone calls from school, and the million appointments, etc., that we show in our video … those are frustrating and infuriating and difficult and crazy-making things (to us, to our kids, and to those watching it all from the outside).
They are NOTHING compared with the pain of watching your child be ostracized, marginalized, excluded and bullied.
They are NOTHING compared with the helplessness you feel when your child is almost literally trying to crawl out of his or her skin, or crawl into a shell and never come out.
And they are NOTHING — NOTHING — compared with the terror you feel when your child is so depressed and overwhelmed that you fear he (or she) may hurt himself.
So, yeah, maybe you can fix the homework issue by cracking the whip.
I’m much more concerned about the much more important things that can crack …. and how to fix THEM. Or, hopefully, to keep them from cracking in the first place.
The bottom line for our blog is this:
Our kids’ issues can make things so difficult for them that their lives really suck.
And our lives can really suck when our kids’ lives suck.
That’s it. Just an acknowledgement of that.
And of the fact that we will do whatever we need to do to make it suck a little less, so that they – and we – can get through it … without completely cracking.
Because while many of these issues can, and often do, get better with time … some of those cracks can be permanent.
We know that it is our mission to show that, throughout this journey and beyond, there is a huge power in connecting with other people who are also dealing with “the nail” — and who know, without a shadow of a doubt, and without ever having to say it to each other, that the bottom line is …
It is not about the nail at all.
And if you don’t understand that …. then you don’t have a nail in your forehead.