Do You Have An Eeyore?

Date: April 25, 2011

As I have told some of my friends, I recently realized that one of my children has some Eeyore-ish characteristics and if I donít stay on my toes, they can effect the whole family. I donít mean the Eeyore stuff like his lack of confidence, (that can be a topic for another newsletter). NoÖ.my Eeyore displays his Eeyore-ness by not wanting to do anything other than things he likes to do. You know what I mean, right? Like the rest of you want to try a certain restaurant or to do some activity and when your Eeyore finds out, he mumbles and grumbles and says he is not going and that you canít make him. Your choice is to go without him, (kind of letting him off the hook, giving in, in my opinion) or bribe him to go (never, ever a good strategy in the long run!!), or tell him he is big trouble if he does not go and then listen to him complain during the activity while he ruins the day for everyone else.

Sometimes, I lose sight of keeping the Eeyore-ness in check and I find that we have stopped doing anything Eeyore might not like because we donít want to deal with the ramifications mentioned above. But I eventually catch myself and realize what I have been doing. To arrange family life around the Ďstinkerí is to do the stinker a major dis-service! When I wake and smell the stink, I have to gather my self and set sail in another direction.

So how do we make sure our Eeyores get the dose of reality they need, go and do things that other family members would like to do, and not allow Eeyore to ruin the fun for everyone else? In my mind, it comes down to this. I am quite certain that your Eeyore has plenty of privileges. (For mine, two at the top of the list are a car to drive and an iphone!) Now who in their right parenting mind would give a kid access to a car and an iphone (among other things) and then allow them to dictate where the family goes on a regular basis? Parents that are not thinking straight or are too wimpy to take the keys and the phone, thatís who! (Me being one of them, at times.) I had to slap myself the other day when I realized that my Ďattitudenilly challengedí kid had waaaayyyy too much say about certain family decisions. It came to me that, as his parent, it was my responsibility to let him know that if he could not go along and do some things with the family that he did not really feel like doing, that that was proof positive he had too many things!!! And that if he dragged himself along with a crummy attitude, ruining the occasion for everyone else, THAT was also proof positive that he had way too many things!

So, how did Eeyore handle this message? He joined us. He came along with a quiet, but respectful demeanor. And Eeyore actually had some fun. He even enjoyed it a little. It isnít as if he thanked me for the wonderful life lesson, but he came along and was pleasant and got some things out of the experience. The most valuable nugget we gave to him that day was that Ďsometimes you do things for other peopleí. (And if you are not able to do that, you have too many things and your parents will have to fix that problem right away!)

You may think this is typical teen-age behavior and many might agree with you. But I know loads of you reading this are experiencing Eeyore-ness in your life and you donít even have a teen yet! My belief is that this behavior is expressive of a child who has a little entitlement issue rather than typical behavior of any aged kid. So, I remind you, tailoring your activities to suit your Eeyore, only makes your Eeyore more Eeyore-ish!

I hope you find my self-disclosure helpful and that it gives you the courage to stand up for your parental rights and obligations. Happy Parenting.