When I was young, my late dad use to say, ”Small things, amuse small minds”. For a long time I did not think about this, but more and more, this is becoming a reality of life. The point I am trying to make, is that we are so busy with small insignificant things, we forget about the big things of life.

As a parent, this is one of the biggest mistakes we make, we are so busy trying to teach discipline, manners and support our kids, we start thinking that this is parenting, and we cannot be further away from it. Yes, it is important that the small things should be attended to, but we are so busy with the small things we forget about the big things.

What is small things? Well small things are the nitty-gritty of everyday , does the following sound familiar.When you go to your son’s room you are liable to find the following , 8 empty coffee mugs , 2 empty “sweetened condensed milk “ tins under his bed. Various pieces of plastic packaging, including last year’s Christmas paper, and wrappers of all kinds of goodies. The bed has the smell, funky, you last smelled when you walked pass a beggar in the city. On his desk you see 2 half eaten plates of food. You cannot look at the floor , because there is no floor to be seen, clothing lies all over like a 4 inch carpet……………………….. While there is a rubbish bin in his room, as well as clean linen in his cupboard. A dirty clothes hamper is 3 meter away from him in the bathroom, and his is no more than 10 meters from the kitchen.

A huge surge of anger steams trough you! No respect is shown to you. This is your house not a pig sty , he immediately gets grounded for 2 weeks , have to clean his room , may not eat or drink anything in his room under fear of being hanged . In future all eating and drinking will be done in the kitchen etc., etc……………………………….It is 2 days later , when you wake up a bit later on a Saturday morning. You happily walk to the kitchen, you know you left sparkling last night before you went to bed …………………………………….Oh my , chaos ! There is 5 empty cups on the table, half a plate of cereal filled with more milk that can fill an Olympic size swimming pool, the rest is on the table, an empty bag of crisps on the table and the best is the empty bottle of milk in the fridge! He immediately gets hauled out of bed , the 2 weeks grounding is now 2 months including washing dishes by hand for 2 weeks etc,etc……………………The explanation of “ I forgot “ is find not be mitigating testimony . You will teach him, there is no place for a pig in your house! Now that is parenting! DUHH……………………………………………………………………. these are small things, you are not even coming close.

In today’s world it is not easy being a parent or a grandparent! But using the following actions would have been a lot better on the long-term . LEAVE EVERYTHING AS IT EASE . Go and buy 8 new coffee mugs, and while you are there 2 plates as well, and yes, the money comes from his allowance. Regarding the pig sty he lives in, I promise you it will be cleaned, you see he will get friends or maybe if you are very lucky a girlfriend, they will go to his room to play computer games …….and the smell of that room, will make it a short visit! Do not wash his clothes if he does not bring it, he will when he runs out of clean stock. Your answer is simple, you wash what is in the laundry hamper. Regarding the filthy kitchen he left behind! Lock up your “lekka” goodies, if he wants anything, including milk, leave an appropriate amount in a plastic container for his own personal use. The message will come through quickly, I behave my parents will be cool! I do not behave, nothing “lekka” to eat.

Why should the small things bother you, it is his small things, let him live with it, there is a lot more important things, that needs urgent attention.

Teach discipline, manners and support our kids, are only part of parenting, to me the most important part is talking, not moaning, not laying down the rules. You have to learn to talk and to laugh with your kids, and your kids need to understand how to talk to you. Do not start with school or sport or anything they do every day. Tell them about your day, the news from the office, a joke told in the office, the shocking news currently in the world, your plans for the week-end etc. You have to teach your children that their opinions are important, you have to give them confidence, they do not have to agree with your viewpoint, teach them it is fine to agree to disagree. Slowly but surely you will see your children starts confiding in you. They will come to you, they will ask for your opinion, be honest, and be brutally honest. But always let them know that it is your opinion, they may differ! That is parenting, that is the big thing!

So rather let the small things go, but never let the big things like talking go!

Hein

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