Who’s Really Teaching the Lessons Around Here? Learning How Not to Get Zapped!

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Many years ago, I remember my husband saying something to our friends that stuck with me. We were talking about one of our toddler’s sassafras behavior, and G-Man made a super quick comment about the fact that the misbehavior was more of a reflection of our parenting than of our child. His words planted a seed; If my child is having some kind of difficulty, it’s my job to look at how I can adjust my behavior rather than to expect my child to change. Interesting…

A good metaphor for my point is the kid’s game, Operation. Remember that one? Where the goal is to use tweezers to remove tiny plastic bones without hitting the edges. For years as the operator, I didn’t take into consideration how sensitive my kids were to the tone of my voice—that was their issue, not mine. But when I barreled in, I got zapped. Their response to me was a constant reminder that my way wasn’t the best way to retrieve the “spare rib.” I could certainly get it that way—and, let’s be honest, it’s much easier to get it that way—but do I want the spare rib, or do I want a healthy relationship with my kid? 

I think you all know me well enough to appreciate that I’m not talking about handling our children with kid gloves. What I’m talking about is approaching every child with the same amount of respect I’d show another adult. And the reality is, kids don’t know a lot of things. I remember feeling so sad when a big person got angry with me for not knowing something they thought I should know. And most of the things I was taught, I needed to be shown over and over again to fully “get it.”

While it continues to be frustrating for me when my kids shut down or explode, those behaviors give me an opportunity to practice my technique. Over and over, I have a chance to learn the lesson. And just like my children, I’ve had to do the task dozens and dozens of times to get it right.

If we haven’t learned anything else from today’s post, we’ve learned that I’m an extremely slow study. But I’m still going to keep working on steadying my hand over here, because ultimately the long term goal is to be asked to my adult children’s family game nights in the future. 

And here’s more on honoring my kids inner knowing…
BLOG: The Art of Disappointment: It’s Not You, It’s Me
PODCAST: The Art of Disappointment: It’s Not You, It’s Me

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  1. I needed to read this today. Thanks Mags!

    • That’s so wonderful to hear Katie.
      Thanks so much for reaching out to let me know~

  2. I’m definitely in the category of “I need to practice this 100 times before I get it right!” I’m just worried that I’ve gotten in wrong so many times I’ll never be invited to game night… ugh! I can only keep trying!
    Thanks Mags

    • Not a chance~
      And you’re always welcome to our family game nights!

Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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I would love for you to join me as I work to undo these old patterns and evolve to create a more serene and accepting existence. (And you should know that I still want to ear flick the little knuckleheads {this includes my husband} when they don’t rinse a dish before putting it in the dishwasher — always a work in progress.)
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