I watch the dynamics of my kids – our 1 year old looks up to his big sister. She also loves him equally yet sometimes she takes him for granted. He will do so much for her. He always shares, always wants to make her happy, is always thinking of her and wants her involved. If he lifts his juice cup off the table he always looks for her one too and takes it to her.
If he is given a treat he looks up at me and says ‘Bonnie’ and I will give him one to take her too. It is totally and utterly adorable. Sometimes she wants her own space. She wants time to watch the tv in peace or to spend time with other people. He idolises her though because she is the big sister. She is the older one and the role model.
The thing is, when she is with older people she does the same. The power balance is flipped on it’s head. She follows them around, looks up to them and would do anything they say. I watch the older kids at times take her passion and enthusiasm for granted. There are moments it breaks my heart. Who wants to watch their little souls so desperate and having to run around and work hard to get the attention and approval of others?
My wee lad has just discovered the game of playing hard to get. I will be cuddling him and he pushes me away and says ‘go’. I then say ‘ok baby’ and stand up to leave with a sad face and right away he shouts ‘nooooooo cuddle’. He doesn’t play it very well but sadly in time he will learn not to shout so soon. It is my current favourite game we play.
Children can teach us so much. It got me thinking about our adult relationships. When we are around our mid 20’s our brain is fully developed and we should technically be wise enough to control our emotions. If only it were that simple. We should know how to treat people but nobody is perfect. Every relationship we have is unique and sometimes the balance can change. Perhaps someone has less time than normal. Naturally we will meet people in life who we put on a pedestal. People we admire, those we find inspirational or fascinating. Those who we love and really care about. Reflecting and looking back I realise that there were moments in my life that I gave too much time to the wrong people. For a relationship to last, whether it be romantic or a friendship, both parties involved need to make the effort. Life is busy and we don’t have a huge deal of time so we want to enjoy it with those who appreciate us and genuinely care. Hindsight is a great thing but isn’t it great when we grow and we learn? Here are some key things I have learnt that I will try and teach my kids.
1 – Some people need more attention at various points in life – if they are in pain or sick or really struggling. Perhaps they have just been through a life changing event like having a baby or losing a loved one. It is always good to look our for our friends and family as best as we can. However, given both people in a relationship are in ok physical and mental health we need to consider if the relationship is built on fairness. Does one person make all the decisions? Is there compromise? Do you always go out where your sister choses to eat because she shouts the loudest? Does your friend always chose which movie you go to watch at the cinema? Does your partner always go out and leave you with the kids or is there a good balance?
Is there one of you always calling the shots? Granted some people are less fussy and more laid back – I am guilty of saying ‘I will go wherever’ but I also know what I want and will try to pick my battles accordingly.
2 – Is one of you unavailable more than the other? Does one of you sit back and wait for the other to make a phone call? Does this person expect you to always be on call to answer your phone but when you try them they are unavailable?
3 – Are you the one always arranging the dates? Are you always texting first? Does the person show a genuine interest in you? Do they just want to talk about themselves all the time or is there balance? Don’t let someone string you along. If they are interested great – enjoy getting to know them. If they are not that fussed then don’t bother chasing them. When it comes to finding love -there will be someone out there who wants to know you and wants to make time for you in their life. Follow your gut feeling. Are you being overly keen or are you not keen enough? If you are not keen enough don’t lead someone on just because they are a good listener or you like the ego boost. Have respect for people. Nobody likes a tease. When I was 25 I decided I was no longer going to chase after guys. I was done with it. I was done with games. When I met my future husband I actually said to him on our 2nd date ‘I don’t do any mind games, if you are keen let’s stick at this because I really like you, if not I will not hang around’. By then I had reached my point and was on a mission to find a decent guy. I was never very good at games and playing hard to get #wysiwyg.
4 – Do they appear interested in the big things that go on in your life? Or do they just want you when it suits them?
5 – Are you being hounded and made to feel guilty for enjoying your independence or appearing too busy? There is a balance and sometimes in life we have less time – a demanding job, setting up a business, looking after young kids, caring for a loved one who is sick. We need to accept that sometimes in life we just don’t have enough time to do as much as we used to. We should never be made to feel guilty and it takes two people to keep a relationship going. It is important as friends and family not to take things personally if someone hasn’t called for a few weeks. If it is starting to bother you then why not call them? Who knows maybe they are stressed or drowning in work and don’t have time to keep tabs on who’s turn it is to get in touch. Maybe they would love to see you but are just a bit overwhelmed at the moment. Don’t be selfish and make it all about you. If you feel like your friends are always contacting you first or your partner is spoiling you more make an effort to mix it up. Try and beat them to it next time. If you are struggling be honest with them before they get paranoid that they have offended you.
Relationships are complicated and for me the key ingredient is respect. We need to show people respect and at the same time have a little respect for ourselves. Find balance in your relationships. Don’t be too keen or too mean x