My close friend Chris (not McClung) recently took a job at a new company after years of grinding it out at one in decline, both literally and culturally. Chris really tried to make the old job work; we met countless times over the years to discuss whether he should stay or go. As a quality human being, Chris always found angles to give his employer the benefit of the doubt. Two months ago they eliminated his department, and the excuses (for lack of a better term) ended themselves.
As we talked about the first week at his new job, Chris remarked to me that it was amazing to be at an organization where the employees are actually nice to each other, and suggested with a laugh that perhaps in his last role he had been suffering from “Stockholm Syndrome”. The term sounded funny to me, so I laughed, however I didn’t know what Stockholm Syndrome meant. Chris explained that Stockholm Syndrome is when a hostage falls in love with their captors.
After I hung up the phone, I thought some more…and realized that as parents we may all be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
After I hung up the phone, I thought some more…and realized that as parents we may all be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Let’s examine a typical morning with a three year old (you can certainly extrapolate similar examples with kids of all ages) to prove my point:
Ungodly hour a.m., your alarm clock rings. Brutal. Once the coffee hits your veins it’s puppy dogs and ice cream though. You walk toward your sweet child’s room. Upon opening their door, a ray of sunlight shines on their innocent face. You lean over to gently wake them, they turn towards you and nearly knock you out of the bed with their noxious breath. It’s shocking that something so small, with an even smaller mouth, can produce such an odor. Disgusting and disgusted. They reach up and give you a warm hug. Their warmth explodes throughout your tired body, reinvigorating your conviction that this kid thing was a good choice. You see them to the “potty” (yes, you have started using that word even around adults now) and then lovingly comb their hair, brush their teeth, and get them dressed for the day. Next stop, breakfast, where they tell you your eggs taste awful before running off with greasy hands that they rub across your sofa.
Next stop, breakfast, where they tell you your eggs taste awful before running off with greasy hands that they rub across your sofa.
Sound pretty accurate? Whether we admit it or not, our kids run our lives. We are their captives. Yet somehow, through this mess that is childhood and parenting, we very well may have developed Stockholm Syndrome and fallen in love with our unique/challenging/maddening/precious captors.