Today was a parenting win for me. It was 3 pm. Day 32 of sheltering in place.
We’d played all morning, done some token worksheets and read her favorite books. We’d bickered amicably about how many farts were too many and if Mr.Poop would be a good name for her little baby cousin.
But it was also 3 pm. The sun blazing down on our heads, while we nursed lukewarm glasses of water.
Out of the blue, my kindergartner sniffed at me and announced that “I was the worst Amma in the world”.
(It stung a little. Not going to lie. I’m evolved, but not that much. 🙃)
“Sorry to hear that, love. Do you want to talk about it?”
Her face crumpled up as the tears fell. Big, big feelings.
“No!”, she screamed. “My water is yucky and you’re the worst Amma ever.”
All this anger over some water? After all the effort I’d put in all day! That’s what the old me would have insisted.
But I know better. I choose better. She’s 5, but I’m not. I CAN do better.
“You seem upset, love. Hug or quiet time? Or maybe some cold water? ”
She screeched, “QUIET TIME QUIET TIME QUIET TIME.”
So I gave her the privacy to mourn whatever was bothering her. She calmed down after a while, and we snacked on some mango ice cream.
Sometimes respectful parenting can seem so bizarre to those who don’t know:
You don’t scold your child for ‘acting out’?
You don’t give them a time out?!
You’re not taking away something they like just to show them who’s boss?
And to them, I say.
My daughter is 5 and loved to pieces. She’s secure in our bond to be her authentic self around me. She’s valued and trusted and embraced for all she is.
And most importantly, everything is not a teachable moment. Some are calm, reflecting moments. Some are “this too shall pass” moments. And some are pokey, difficult moments, where us adults figure out what we need to work on.
Today at 3 pm, my child had the space and freedom to call me the “worst Amma in the world.”
And to me, that is a parenting win.
(Parenting a child is a unique and sacred journey. There is no “correct” way to be a parent and what works for me may not for your family. If you would like to know more about respectful parenting however, please reach out to me – firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be glad to help!)