“Mom, I lost my jacket,” my almost 12 year old son told me.
“What? Grandma just gave that to you last week,” I accusingly replied. “Where did you last wear it? Have you looked in your room?” “How could you have lost it?” I ranted on.
Then I caught myself. Whose problem is this? What happened to my empathy? I tried to recover my Love and Logic senses and said, “So that’s pretty sad – losing your jacket so soon. What are you going to do about it?” But it was too late, my son had switched off his thinking mode since I had clearly taken over. He simply replied, “Nothing.”
I reflected on my missed opportunity. I could have used empathy and hugged my son with a big “This is so sad, you loved that jacket from Grandma. I could have helped him solve his own problem by asking, “What are you going to do about it?” Then we could have grabbed a hot cup of cocoa and brainstormed together ideas for him to look for his jacket. We could have had a special mother-son bonding time working together to solve his problem.
So instead of beating myself up, I decided that in parenting, if we take the time to reflect on our mistakes, we are more prepared for the next time – and in parenting, there are lots of next times! And, since he did find his jacket, he’ll probably misplace it again and this time I’ll be ready for it.
©2009 Shelly Moorman, Head & Heart Parents
As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.