When it Comes to Kids, Expect the Worst


By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | January 24, 2013

You know this person, they have three children but they can only ever seem to talk about this one, very special, smart, clever, talented, adorable child. It makes you wonder how the other two children feel about that impossible situation.

As a parent I have watched other parents and gauged my own parenting style by what I saw. I have seen parents who declared, “Oh, my daughter would never do that!” or “My son is a Boy Scout; he would never do that!” I decided early on that I never wanted to sound or look like those never-my-child parents by bragging and then have to eat my words. This stance has helped me to rationally deal with many situations over the years – whether laughing or crying – better than if I had bragged to the world.

Here is one example; I got a call from the school nurse one day saying she had Katie in the office and needed to see me right away. I drove to her office immediately thinking the worst— a bleeding head, unconsciousness or broken bones. When I opened the nurse’s door I was pleasantly surprised to find Katie intact but not looking well. The nurse had stepped out so I asked Katie what was the matter. Her lower lip began to quiver as she explained. She had drawn a picture of a naked person and shared the picture with another girl. The picture fell into the hands of the teacher; that was when she began to feel ill. I asked Katie, “Did you sign your work? Every artist signs their work, you know.”

I was so ready for anything that it helped me calm down and see the lighter side of the moment. It doesn’t work all the time in every instance but it does help. Expecting the worst will help put any situation in perspective and make it easier to deal with it.

When my mother told me here in New Jersey my older daughter in North Carolina was pregnant at seventeen, I took it so calmly that my mother screamed at me over the phone. My poor mother expected crying, yelling and hand-wringing and for once, I was happy to disappoint. Having my Parents Anonymous group supporting me in my parenting role made it easier to expect nearly anything and my mother did not have that nonjudgmental support in her lifetime.

Expecting the worst in an event helps to lessen the emotional jolt and promotes calmness. Parents who remain calm are better equipped to deal with events or crises. Crises by definition, is a turning point that is usually short-lived. When there is a need for discipline or a consequence, remaining calm will help parents think clearly to set fair consequences for a child. An angry or upset parent is likely to set harsher, unreasonable consequences.

Think about your own parents, were they the calm, easy-going type or did they get upset first? Did your parent inspire your parenting style today? How is your parenting different from your own parents?

Take a step back and remember yourself as a new parent for the first time. There was a lot to learn and it’s not over yet. Give your children the same chances or benefits of doubt that you afforded yourself back then. You are a work still in progress— imagine how far they have to go!

I would love to hear about your own experiences and what you think about what you’ve just read— it’s YOUR turn!

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered for more than twenty years for children and family issues. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and "Parent Rap" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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