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:

Note 2

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.


4 Responses to An unexpected win

  1. Karen Anthony says:

    And what I hear is awesome, I’m not the only one who rants at my kids. So many times I feel so awful that I jump on my son re: half ass homework. I’m glad you do it too!

  2. Laura says:

    This is interesting timing b/c my 6 year old is Student of the Week at school next week and we have to write a letter to him. I was thinking how powerful it will be for him to see words of encouragement and praise in print. Maybe it’s something to do more often (and to others; not just our kids). I definitely call that a win.

  3. Angel says:

    That’s awesome Kristin! Thanks for sharing. We’ve had similar fights with my 8 year old. I think I’ll try writing a similar note next time we have an argument.

  4. Shannon says:

    I’ve had similar homework “discussions” with my 10 year old. I’m batting .500 about dealing with it compassionately. I think your approach is wonderful, and I will definitely give it a try. It is an honest and loving way to encourage a child to do their best.