Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Confession #3: Blameshifting 101

I blog to you from the comfort of my leather recliner....sporting nothing other than my beloved walking pants....completely ignoring the huge piles of laundry that need to be put away....to revel in the calm of the dark morning while basking in the glow of the Christmas tree lights.  Ahhh....this is the stay-at-home trophy wife life!

Here we go on Confession #3:  I am raising successful blameshifters.  I'm doing a mighty fine job of it, too.  I continually marvel at the top-notch ability levels of my older two children to never hold themselves accountable for their behaviors.  The baby is just in her apprentice-level phase of life, but I have no doubt that she will excel at this skill as well.

Every situation plays out like this:

Me:  Why is this stool in the pantry?
L:  Q did it.
Q:  I din' do it.  L did it.
L:  NO I DIDN'T!!!!!!!!  Q did it.  He wanted to get the cookies down from the shelf, so he scooted it in here, and I just happened to fall on the said stool and accidentally grab down the bag of cookies that we've now been covertly devouring for the past twenty minutes.  But Q is the one who brought the stool to the pantry, so I didn't do it.
Me:  *sigh*

I sat back to think about why my children absolutely cannot fess up to what they did anymore.  First and foremost, they don't want the fall-out of being the one who committed the various offenses.  They know that my husband and I believe in consequences, and they will do anything (including lying???) to avoid getting into trouble.  Secondly, they have learned this awesome skill of blameshifting from their loving, adoring parents.

Think about it.  When you're lucky enough to shuffle your kid off to preschool for awesome learning experiences, we consequently learn how to blame everyone else's kids for various unwanted behaviors.

"L has started lying about things.  Must be the kids at preschool.  I never lie about anything."
"Q has started biting kids.  Must be learning that from someone else's kid."
"L has become more of a smart-aleck than I would like.  I am never a smart-mouth to anyone."
"Q and L think shouting, 'POOPY-TOOTY' is funny.  Must be the kids at preschool." (Hell, that shit is funny.)

How is it that we would never just attribute it to the fact that it's just what kids do?  How is it that we never think of ourselves as role models for negative behaviors, but only the positive ones?  It seems to me that the only time I truly want to take credit for the things my kids do is when it's something that would be considered admirable or amazing.  No more Blameshifting 101 here.....just Credit-Taking 101.

For example, at last night's Christmas program, the woman who owns the preschool said that she asked the kids in L's class, "What do you love most about Christmas?"  She said that most kids said that presents were their favorite things.  She said, in front of everyone at the program, "L's answer melted my heart.  She said, 'It's my favorite holiday, and we celebrate baby Jesus.'"  I was so proud to hear that! 

Guess who I patted on the back first?  Myself.  My husband.  Then, in a brilliant revelation, I realized that maybe my kid is just a good kid all on her own, too.  So I reached down and gave her a great big hug and told her I was proud of her.  I realized that the only time I need to "blame" her for anything from now on is when she does the right thing.  Suddenly, whoever put the stool in the pantry doesn't matter so much anymore.

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