One of my parental philosophies is to keep it real. Not in a way where you now know Santa didn’t really bring you that Barbie Dream House. By keeping it real, I mean being truthful about life, experiences and expectations.
Of course, I would never give my kids information that would traumatize, scare, sadden or make them feel negative in any type of way. However, I do feel it is my responsibility as their mother to let them know how crucial something really is. Currently, I only have one child going to school. Considering she has two more siblings behind her and is heading to the 2nd grade, I’ve had some time to learn that going to (or back) to school involves having some serious conversations.
It first must start at home. For us, everyday life seems to present some opportunity to have a mini-lesson. For example, after the devastating tragedy in Uvalde at Robb Elementary, my daughter asked me why he would go in and hurt people for no reason. It was my opportunity to keep it real … I told her that unfortunately, there are really mean and evil people in this world that do not love themselves, so they don’t care about hurting other people. In another instance, a few weeks later after picking her up from summer camp, she expressed how she was sad because someone didn’t want to play with her anymore. Once again, I kept it real. I told her that there will be many more times in life where people won’t want to play with you, hang around you or be friends with you. You must be a leader and be okay with playing alone sometimes.
Although we do have time to talk when we’re at home, I like to utilize the car rides to school as a time to touch bases with a variety of topics. We talk about having the right friends, making good choices, being a leader and what inappropriate physical contact is. We then end the conversation with an affirmation that I have her repeat out loud at least 2-3 times.
It may seem like a bit much for a 2nd grader, but especially as a little black girl, I don’t think sugar coating real life situations would be of service to her. I know that as she grows and gets older, she will need me to keep it real in order to avoid making a bad decision. My hope is that whether she faces difficulty now or in the future, I’ve equipped her with enough to understand how things really are and not be blindsided by life’s challenges.