I think I speak for most parents when I say that you want better for your kids. Even though I had a fantastic childhood, I still experienced disappointments, pain and mistakes that I would prefer my kids not have to deal with. I want them to know that there is no dream too big to work towards. I want them to know that joy, smiles, and happiness will hopefully outweigh tears, sadness, and any feelings of inadequacy. And, I want them to know that when you have to use the bathroom you should use it. Is that too much to ask? It pains me to no end when I see my kids squirming, jumping up and down, rocking from side to side, unable to complete a sentence because they need to use the bathroom badly. And, it irritates me to no end that, notwithstanding how badly they need to use the bathroom, they refuse to go until I threaten them with physical harm if they don’t go to the bathroom.
When we are at home they have 3.5 bathrooms at their disposal. Is there really ever any excuse to not use the bathroom when you have to go? When we are out, I always scope out the available bathrooms, letting them know that relief is just a few feet away. And yet, they all, as a matter of habit, always refuse to use the bathroom. I may not be classically trained, but when it comes to my kids I have my PhD, JD, MD and a lot of other graduate degrees. So, based on my expert knowledge of my children, I have to assume their unwillingness to use the bathroom when I ask them is because they are scarred from all of the other demands I make of them, e.g., requesting that they make their own beds daily, do their homework, and not fight with each other. I mean why else would a person not use the bathroom when clearly they need to go?Everyday, everywhere we go we have this same battle. I ask if they need to use the bathroom, they say no. I then rephrase the question and tell them that they better try to use the bathroom or we won’t leave the house.
I know how it feels to not be able to use the bathroom, to have hold “it” for several hours or even a couple of days (I swear once when my oldest daughter was a newborn, I forgot to use the bathroom for more than 36 hours.) I know that this is no way to live. I just want my kids to pee (and then remember to wash their hands using soap, water, and a lot of friction.) Really, is that too much to ask? Perhaps I need to incentivize my children to use the bathroom when they have to go — refuse leisurely TV watching, curtail the fruit snack supply and make them pick up after themselves. Yeah, I’ll try that….