Choose Your Battles

15 Mar

The other day I was visiting with a friend, a young mom who was trying to get her 11 year old daughter to change the jacket she was wearing to the new one that was just given to her by her aunt.

The daughter liked the new jacket but it was just easier for her to put on her old jacket that was hanging up on the back of the chair than remove her shoes and go back upstairs and get the new jacket out of the box. The mom became insistent and forced the daughter to change her jacket. Well you know how this ended…the girl stormed out of the house without saying goodbye and left the mother exasperated and tense.

We talked about the event for a while as I was visiting for tea and I brought up the idea of  choosing more carefully which interactions with her daughter that she is willing to create tension around.

The jacket was a ‘little’ event to the daughter and the mother allowed it to escalate into a bigger event simply because she was attached to a specific outcome not shared by the daughter.

The only outcome here is that the mom got her way.

There are dozens of ‘little’ things that can occur in a day with our children. We have to be a bit careful not to make them too big. This can sometimes be a difficult call, especially when the typical parent is significantly more informed about most of the situations and have good reasons for wanting something to be a certain way.

This is also the parent’s prerogative. However if we try not to create tension over smaller events and perhaps let them go we can save the relationship tension for something bigger which will always come up.

I’ll continue on this theme for the next couple of posts, so be sure to tune in!


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