My Child’s Childhood

It’s kind of cool to realize that my child is having his childhood right now, and I get to have a pretty big influence on how that is for him.  When I picked him up from school yesterday he was in a muddle, a little red-faced and teary, because he didn’t like what one of his friends was saying. His friend wasn’t doing anything wrong, but it bugged Ax, and so Ax’s solution to feel better was to tell his friend to stop.  But his friend didn’t stop.  

Not to be mean, it seemed to me, but just because Ax’s request was not law, and this friend wanted to do what he wanted to do, and what he wanted to do was ok, even though it annoyed and upset Ax.

So. Enter me, mom, for pick up.  Ax, teary, complains about his friend.  

Me: “I see that you are very upset honey.”

Ax: “Yes, I told him to stop and he wouldn’t!”

Me: “That’s frustrating.”

Ax: “Yeah!”

Me: “It sounds like you are giving him your power to feel good — what he does determines whether or not you will feel good?”

Ax: Blank face

Me: “Normally you feel pretty good, but today you don’t because of what he is doing.  It’s a lot easier for you to decide to feel better, to move away, or realize what he is doing doesn’t need to hurt you than to get him to stop.  

“I’m not saying you’re wrong for wanting him to stop, I’m just saying the power move, where you keep your power, is to not depend on him stopping for you to be okay.”

Ax: “But he keeps saying that same thing!”

Me: “Yep. And you’ve tried to get him to stop and it’s not working, and he’s not doing anything wrong even though it’s bothering you.  So what do you want to do? Decide to feel okay and do something else or keep trying to change him?”

Ax: (sniffling) “Do something else.”

Me: Do you want to get a popsicle?

Ax: Yeah!

And we went and had popsicles.  I said, “Can we talk more about what happened back there?”

Ax: “Ok, but not right now.”

Me: “I just want you to know that it wasn’t wrong of you to be upset and that I love you and I’m on your side.”

Ax: “I know all that.”

Then we went home and played with legos.  I got to be “the bad guy” while he was “the good guy”.  

I’m gonna keep going.