Much as I tried H and N were never the perfectly behaved children I would have liked them to be. They had their good moments and their bad. They could embarrass me thoroughly in public making me question my upbringing and then do something so sweet, so thoughtful, so completely unselfish that my heart would fill with love and pride. Their being Geminis might have something to do with it!
However hard these ups and downs might have been, they taught me one thing - that there were no really ‘bad’ kids. Having seen so many shades of my own I believed firmly that all kids had bits of good and bad in them.
And so when they were younger I encouraged them to include all other kids around them when they played. The quiet ones, the shy ones, the naughty and boisterous, the spoilt and the generous ones - all of them. Despite their quirks and shortcomings they all stuck together. Also, once I got to know them I learnt to like them all.
It helped that we were a bunch of like-minded mothers who looked out for all the kids and reprimanded them too, as they would their own.
However, I find things changing as the kids grow. They are no longer small children nor are their friends. All of them have suddenly developed personalities of their own, rather strong ones, at that! They have fixed ideas of what is cool and what is not, what is good what is bad, right and wrong and that, sometimes, doesn’t coincide with what I think is right or age-appropriate.
I hear some of the older girls giggling over ‘crushes’ and when N tells me about them, all I can think is “She’s just ten!” — too early to be listening in on stories of crushes. I hear words like ‘loser’ (how I detest it!), ‘jerk’ and much worse. One day N asked me what a b*****d was. Then we had this very lengthy discussion on why I must object each time they says sh**. ‘Everyone says it’, H argued, ‘even adults say it.’ He’s right of course and yet I’d much rather not have that language at home.
With peer-pressure peaking, I have to confess I have begun to think about how other kids influence H and N, specially the older ‘cooler’ lot, who the twins idolise. I find, now, that there are children whom I wish H and N just wouldn’t hang out with. Yet it doesn’t feel quite right to brand a particular child ‘bad company’, to ask the children to stay away from him or her.
What makes it more complicated is that I do see the good in them too - some are extremely well-read and well-informed, one of them is a crazy Harry Potter fan (a definite plus for me), one is a computer whizz, another one is passionate about animals and has loads of interesting nuggets of information. I like them for all those things but I feel they’re not quite right for H and N.
So what do I do?
I understand that there will be good and bad influences around them all the time. I cannot control them. I know that. So can I continue to stick with my idea of ‘people aren't bad, habits are’? That’s what I told them when they were younger. Or am I being too idealistic?
Should I accept that along with the good comes bad and let them be, even while I continue to remind them of the rights and wrongs and hope to God they are listening? Will that help at all? Are they capable of seeing the good from the bad rather than idolising people as a whole? Or are they just too young to evaluate people objectively?
I could engage them elsewhere and minimise interaction. But that needs just so much energy and mind space. Sigh!
Apologies for off loading my worries here but I’m a bit lost. Am I over-thinking this whole thing?
Picture credit: PIXABAY