Time to Back Off a Bit?


It’s back to reality as my wife is back at work this week (teacher in CMS) and my two little guys head back to preschool in two weeks. Before we got back to life as we know it we enjoyed a week at North Litchfield Beach with my wife’s family. We spent a lot of time at the beach and the pool. My wife and boys returned with a golden tan while I came home with some port-wine like sunburns. Think Mikhail Gorbachev but more red than purple.

While we were there my oldest son Tyler made the greatest first impression on my new WCCB News Rising Co-host Kristine Zell. Kristine currently works for our sister station in Myrtle Beach and will be joining us in early September. We had Kristine and her husband Jeff over for dinner one night so my family could meet them and I could meet Jeff. After greeting them at the door and introducing them, “Your friends are here,” we did introductions and got to chowing down. A few minutes into dinner my son says in a loud voice to everyone at the table, “It’s so nice having guests join us.” I know what you are saying to yourself. Mr. TV guy had his kid rehearse what to say. I promise you I did not. Plus that’s more eloquent than anything I would have fed him. He finished up the night by requesting a hug from Kristine and giving Jeff a high five.

The reason I think he did all those things was because there was no pressure going in. The only thing we told him was that daddy’s new work friend and her husband were coming over for dinner. We didn’t lay down any specific rules for this visit or bribe him to be “on his best behavior.” I always hated when someone told me that (and still do). Had we made a bigger deal out of this event I have a feeling Tyler would have done everything in his power to test us, push our buttons, etc. Instead we got a perfect night with new friends and an incredible first impression.

Once you become a parent you should realize that not everything is about you. No one is judging you if your child isn’t always “on his/her best behavior.”  Social media and reality shows tell us we should share every single thing we like, think, want and have. We shouldn’t. Too many young parents seem to make it a point to show how great and involved a parent they are. That shouldn’t be forced. Let it happen naturally. People should know without you announcing it. By the way, your kids still like THEIR space. If we back off a little more often (while still being there for them) our kids will impress over and over again. 

WCCB News Rising Host Derek James balances a full-time job in the glamorous world of television news (including a 2:30am wake up and stale coffee) along with managing chaos every afternoon for 5 year-old Tyler and 2 year-old Chase.

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