Thursday, May 6, 2010

Just When You Thought You Knew Somebody

Sometimes we think we know our kids. We raise them, live with them and talk to them frequently. However, sometimes your kid will make a comment that really gets you thinking, "Well maybe I don't know them so well."

Now let me put this into context for you. I am sitting at the kitchen table with my friend discussing my three children and their various achievements. We begin talking about my 13 year old being in the Junior ARISTA society, prom, graduation and her good grades. I was under the impression that I treated all of my children equally. However, my 15 year old son made a comment that surprised me. "Oh yeah, talk about the starchild." He gets up, with his head hanging down, and leaves the room.

I was shocked. These words nearly broke my heart. As a mother, you don't want your children feeling like the ugly duckling. It occurred to me that perhaps, I don't give him enough attention or the praise he deserves. Its not that I think he is a "trouble maker" (as he views himself). I just feel that he has made some bad choices in the past and is now paying the consequences of those actions. But that is beside the point. I now see that perhaps my son feels that the girls take up all of my attention.

Similarly, I noticed that in my writing, sometimes a character may not receive the attention to detail that they deserve. Peripheral characters truly support and provide a background for our main characters. During revision, I plan to polish some of these characters so that they not only provide a backbone for the main character but also coherently solidify the potholes in the storyline.

Course of action- give my son more one on one attention where just he and I are conversing about anything he chooses. No, this will not happen every single day but I have set aside some quality time. Let's see how it works.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I know now you feel about wanting to be fair. My three kids were all born within three years of each other and grew up close. Just about the time the oldest hit age 12, they all started whining that I preferred the other kids: "You like Michael best because he's the boy," or "You like Beth and Laurie best because they're girls," or so-and-so was the oldest or youngest.

    Sigh. Kids sure do know how to push our buttons. Of course, I denied having a favorite and went out of my way proving it.

    Which is impossible. People, and book characters, have different needs at different times and it's impossible for us to take care of everyone at the same time.

    My "kid" solution once I realized this? I just casually agreed with any accusation that so-and-so was my favorite. "Yes, you're right. Michael IS my favorite. It's because he's so handsome, intelligent, and charming." Mouths fell open and shock killed all the noise in the room.

    Of course, Michael was thrilled. Later on, however, when I let one of his sisters have a privilege he wasn't permitted, and he asked why Beth could stay out late and he couldn't, I answered, "Because she's my favorite. She's so beautiful, intelligent, and charming."

    They caught on pretty quick and I stopped hearing the accusations.

    Not so easy to resolve with my book characters, however...

  3. I love how you resolved that issue. I think I just may try it when I'm accused of having a favorite. I see how it can be difficult with characters as you can't get an immediate reaction to how your trick plays out.

    Thanks for the comment.