Monday, October 31, 2011

A confession...and a question

I'm going to reveal something to you.

I like my own kid best.

Yeah, I know. He's my child, of course I prefer him, he's my own, my family, my little boy whom I've nurtured since his arrival in the world. He's the one I have fed, and snuggled, and disciplined, and taught, and guided, and dressed. I've comforted him after nightmares, fought to put medicine in his mouth when he's sick, held him still for painful shots from nurses. Of course he's my favorite kid.

But I'm not talking parental love here. I love him dearly, but that's different. That's the love that God gives you for your child (or children), the all-consuming, protective love that grows bigger as needed. At least that's what I'm guessing, based on what I've heard from every other parent I know, and what I've heard about large families and about children who've grown up.

I'm talking here, though, about liking your kid. It's different. Of course you love your child. But I really, truly like my child. I like him better than any other kid in the world. And we know lots of great kids: nieces and nephews, my son's friends and classmates, children we've met at church, etc. There are hoards of wonderful, charming, very likable little people out there. I know some of them.

But I still prefer my own small guy. Maybe because I see little pieces of myself and my husband in his mannerisms and his speech. Maybe because I can think of countless examples of his kindness, times when he's thought of the well-being of others, observances he's made that required sensitivity and awareness. I can think of innumerable moments when I've simply been proud of him. (I can think of other times, too, when I wasn't so proud—but honestly, I can't recall too many.)

None of these observances are earth-shattering in depth or meaning. I'm guessing that many parents who pondered this subject would agree. But it all begs the question: Does every parent feel this way? I'm guessing that they don't, and that is sad to me. I'm not thinking of awful parents who abuse or mistreat their children. I'm thinking of parents who adore their kids, who care deeply for them like no one else could.

Are their some loving, caring parents who just honestly don't like their kid(s)? Is that possible?

I mean, there have to be kids who are vastly different from the people who are rearing them. There have to be examples of children who resemble not at all, in thought or deed, the people who are responsible for those children. Right?

I just don't know. It seems hard to believe, but it seems equally hard to believe that it never happens. I hope it doesn't, but I suspect that occasionally it does.

And if it does—what a shame, for everyone involved.


Facie said...

I am certain that there are quite a few parents who don't like their children. There are times when I don't like my kid. In fact, several times a week, she says or does something that causes me not to like her for at least a few minutes.

I have to take most of the blame for that (permissive parenting and all). But I have lately tried to be less hard on my kid and appreciate her for all the great things she does. I often tell the dog that she is the greatest dog in the world (she isn't, but it makes me feel better to say so). I recently realized, however, I never tell my kid that, so I have started to, at times.

From what I can tell, you are a great parent; you give the right amount of discipline, something I have struggled with. You don't spoil or overindulge your child. You are teaching him right from wrong. It is no wonder that he is turning out in a way that makes him really likeable to you (and many others, I am certain).

Mel said...

I guess no one is ever completely at ease with how it's going, because I worry that I am too tough/mean/strict. I am pretty sure that many folks I know think that is true, especially in my husb's family. I guess we won't really know how badly we screwed up (or how well we did, hopefully) until the kid is grown. And then, you have to realize that he/she is a grown-up and making his own decisions... It's tough, for sure.

(Thank you for encouraging words, though.)

It's all subjective, anyhow, the whole idea of the "best" anything. Right? It's the best to us. : )