I will be the first to admit that as a parent (and a person) I make a lot of mistakes and learn a lot of life lessons. Seriously, there are days I’m a walking after school special. Which is why I’m always hesitant to share parenting “wins” lest they come across as gloating, or worse still, advice.
That being said, I decided to share an unexpected win from this weekend, in part, because of the reaction I’ve received from my personal network.
But first, some background. Reviewing our son’s homework, I discovered that while it was done, it was done incorrectly. Pointing out the error was the start of the downward spin of whining, arguing and explanations – ending with the words “duh mom.”
This final statement had me seeing red, and set off a rant where I adamantly informed our son that “I was not an idiot” and that there was no way we were going to “half ass the homework.”
What our son heard was me calling him an ass.
This entire sequence of events happened a few minutes before our neighbor was scheduled to pick me up for half-marathon training, which meant there was a good chance I would leave while he was still angry.
So I wrote him this note:
These are not new statements in our household.
In fact, we tell our children these things all the time. Number three – we expect you to try your hardest and do your best – is almost always accompanied by the statement “you will only get in trouble for failing a class or test if you didn’t try.”
So you can imagine my surprise when he told me he didn’t believe me – apparently it was easy for him to accept I called him an “ass,” but couldn’t believe the other things.
Happily, where the words didn’t penetrate, the note broke through, before I had left for the gym. It allowed us to talk about our words, clear the air and move on.
It was a very unexpected parenting win.
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