As I said yesterday, I was so mad at my son that I wasn’t sure what to do or say. However, the moment I saw the police officer standing next to my boy, I instantly changed my tune. I could clearly see my son was terrified. His head was down, his shoulders were slummed, I knew that stance very well—he was scared to death!
As soon as we pulled up my son, and his terrified face, glanced in our direction. He obviously needed to connect with us. He’d never been in a situation like this before. He was scared to death and reaching out for support. That was the moment it all became crystal clear. I took a deep breath and reflected on how I was really feeling, right here, right now. Once I assessed how I felt in this moment, not how I felt five minutes ago, I knew what I had to do.
Instantly love and empathy replaced my overwhelming anger. Was I still angry? Yes, I was. Was I still going to do something about this, oh you betcha! But now I was able to think again, and that was what I needed. I needed to move from my overwhelming reaction, to a response that I could live with, and one my son could learn from.
I continued to take deep breaths as I slowly walked up to the damaged car. Since I was calm, I was able to notice that the police officer watching me walk up to the car as well.
When I arrived I touched my son’s arm and said, “Are you okay? Was anyone hurt?” The police officer said, “No one was hurt.” and then there was an uncomfortable silent.
I knew this was a defining moment for me, for my son, and for the police officer. Was I going to lash out and begin yelling at my son? Or was I able to remain calm so I could teach him?
I began shaking my head as I looked at the car, and then looked up at my son and said, “Wow, I am so sorry this happened to you. And I’m even sorrier that 100% of your graduation money will be going toward fixing the damage from this accident, and that you’ll need to get a job to pay for the rest of the damage. This certainly changes your summer plans, and that sucks!”
At this point my son looked directly into my eyes. He was looking for a way to argue, but what he saw was a calm clear firmness on my face. He unconsciously took a deep breath. He seemed relieved by my reaction. The child inside the almost grown young man was grateful that I gave him a way to accept what he already knew was true, this was his fault, and he knew it was his responsibly to fix it. He felt safe again.
The police officer looked at my son and said, “I was going to give you a ticket, but I can see that your mom has this well in hand. You’re a lucky young man to have a mom like that. I’d like to hear you to tell your mom that you understand, and will be respectful and take responsibility for the damage. Oh, and mom, if he doesn’t hold up his end of the bargain I’d be happy to issue him a ticket, just let me know.”
Had I yelled and reacted when I arrived several things would have most likely happened instead.
The police officer would have given him a ticket thinking he was the one who had to teach my son this life lesson because an angry parent wasn’t able to do the job.
Since my son was already going thought a rebellious phase, he would have found a way to focus on my anger and yelling instead of taking responsibility for the accident, thereby learning nothing.
Because I was calm enough to handle things, right here and right now, he knew that 100% of his graduation money would go toward fixing the damage, and he’d have to get a summer job to pay for the rest, so there was very little chance he’d argue with me about this when the estimate came in.
Finally, since I was calm enough to teach my child the true lesson immediately, the backup the police officer gave us, stating that if my son failed to be responsible and respectful in any way that he would issue a ticket, was the perfect addition to the lesson. It taught my son that sometimes you have to abide by society’s rules, not just mom and dad’s rules.
You may be wondering if my son was able to follow through with his agreement? Yes, he was! Was there an argument about the need to use his graduation money to fix his car? No, there wasn’t. Did he ever find out how angry we were? Oh, yes he did. Was being truthful about our anger considered reacting? No, we were able to calmly express our anger and disappointment so he could hear it. Our anger was our truth and part of the reality he had to learn! Did he accept all of this because I’m a parent educator? No. He accepted all of this because we’d been teaching both of our kids this way since they were in preschool.
What does all this mean to you?
The truth is…
You, too, can have all the skills I used — today. You can learn them at your pace, in small sections about 15 minutes long.
And you can have it at a ridiculously low price of $97.00, not the original price of $
197.00, because it’s our Schools Out Sale. Forgive my sounding like a car dealer here!
Your kids will be out of school in a week or two. That means you’ll be dealing with camp, or daycare, or the neighborhood kids and their influences. You’ll experience some new behavior that comes with summer freedom and attitudes, as well as all that reactions that pop-up as the new school year approaches. I know you’re sick of reacting, repeating your requests, and oh so tired of yelling.
Proactive Parenting’s BreakThrough Series can and will teach you another way.
This master class will:
Teach you new skills to correct behavior so you’re not constantly feeling drained by yelling and reacting.
Share new ways to respond that increase listening, respect, cooperation and will inspire you to handle things so you can think when situations arise.
Reshape your connection to your kids so you can be empathetic as well as firm as you face the challenges all parents deal with when summer arrives and the coming school year rounds the bend.
Apply to kids of all ages because all examples are broken out into three groups, one for preschoolers, one for grade school kids, and one for tweens/teens.
But you have to hurry. This sale for 12 days only, AND the BreakThrough Series really is being taken off the website on June 12th at midnight!
Kids do misbehave, and parents do get mad as a result, that’s a fact of life. The key to changing your child’s behavior isn’t about hiding your anger; it’s about how to express any anger or frustration you feel, honestly, as you calmly and firmly correct behavior without reacting.
I know, some people say, “This product is going away forever” and they never take the produce down. But I am taking it down! I am a woman of my word, ask my kids!
Remember: The BreakThrough Series will be gone forever tonight, June 12th at Midnight!
Get your Breakthrough Series today and begin listening when you have time, so you’re ready to enjoy summer!