My Body, My Rules

She doesn’t stop for a picture as much as she used to. She rolls her eyes more when I start a conversation on purpose to teach her some kind of lesson. She argues. She responds to all things with, “My body, my rules.” This is 7 and a half. This is second grade. This is new, as all childhood phases are. Because this is growing up. And sometimes, this is a challenge. Mostly for me. My parenting tricks don’t work anymore. Especially the ones for bedtime. Sometimes nothing works except independence. Except letting her sort it out. Except showing up to check in, setting super clear limits and expectations, and always following through with all of it. Parenting is still a lot of work. Parenting is still this imperfect game of having a strategy and also figuring it out as we go.

I’m so glad I get to figure it out with this kid.

Our talks around alcohol responsibility have changed, too. It’s more about checking in than starting something new. Today we took the city bus to school because I’m off to a holiday party tonight. Because I plan on drinking and am leaving my car at home. Two years ago, I wouldn’t have told her that part. I don’t know that she had ever heard about drinking laws. Now part of teaching my kid about responsible drinking includes showing her when I have a plan for it. That I choose to make good choices ahead of time AND in the moment. Maybe I won’t drink at all tonight, but if I do, I’m prepared to be safe.

I told her that I don’t ever drink and drive. I told her that it’s against the law even if you feel okay. I told her about my plan and she went with me to put more money on my subway card for later.
Then we got a donut together and rode the bus to school. Our commute was slower and OMG colder and I had time to help her out of her winter clothes in her classroom. She benefited greatly from my responsibility.

Two years ago, I started working with responsibility.org because I believe in what they do. Because talking to kids early and often about the hard stuff is important. I had no idea how it would impact us. And here we are, at the end of my work with them and not too much has changed. We talk a lot. We talk about big things, we talk about small things. And the conversation we started two years ago has been woven in and out of our time together. That won’t end with the end of this work. That won’t ever end.

As she gets older, it’s a lot more of “my body, my rules” and hopefully I’ve started the important work now that will help her be responsible in her own choices for that growing body. And if nothing else, we’ll keep talking. We’re great at that.

This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org. This is my last post as a #TalkEarly blogger to help them “Empower parents to be confident about their own decisions regarding alcohol, model healthy, balanced behaviors, and create a foundation for starting conversations with their kids from an early age.” The conversation doesn’t end here, we’re just getting started.

Author: Casey

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