If you ever see me out and about with my kids, you might be surprised at some of the interactions you might witness. For example, If you and I were in the same store today, you might have overheard my comment to my son that went something like this: “NO! You can’t!”
It didn’t exactly come out of nowhere; there was context. But that was about the extent of it. There was no empathy, no connection, no acknowledgement of what he wished he could do, no communication of understanding, no “I can tell that you reeeaallly wish you could take that toy home; We’re not getting it, and it’s OK to be sad about that.” Just a snappy, rude no.
If you saw me then and didn’t know me, it might surprise you to learn that I write and teach classes on positive parent-child relations. And if you do know me and saw that little outburst, it might surprise you to see me communicate to my child in this manner. And no matter what you might think of me based on this interaction you may have witnessed today, I won’t be offended. Because…
I know my son.
I know myself.
I know positive parenting.
I know that was not an example of positive parenting.
I know positive parenting is not based on one interaction.
I know my son will be OK.
I know we’ve had plenty of awesome parent-child moments before this one.
I know there will be plenty more.
I know our relationship will be OK.
I know other moms have moments just like this everyday.
I know they’re good moms.
I know I’m a good mom.
I know that in every situation, context matters, judgement never helps, and those moments are just small parts of a larger whole. Fortunately, parenting looks different for everyone and perfect for no one.