Daily Archives: December 18, 2011

The other side

I’ve been baking holiday cut-out cookies for many years now.  Recently a young co-worker brought into work some cut-out cookies she had baked to share with staff.  They were not only really, really delicious but the frosting on them looked so beautifully perfect.

She told me that the cookies were from her Grandma Gage’s recipe.  The trick to frosting them was to put the frosting on the back side of the cookie.

Really?  Who ever heard of that? 

 I was still thinking of this new info as I baked away at home a few days ago.  So yes, I frosted my cookies this year on the other side and she was right.  It is the trick to make them look pretty perfect.

All of this made me start thinking (of course) and drawing a connection to parenting and relationships in general  Sometimes it only takes a slight adjustment – in our tone of voice, in our perspective, in our demands, in our communication and style to yield a much more positive result.

So much of what I truly believe about parenting success and satisfaction is this focus on relationship and connection. This social-emotional piece of parenting is now highly recognized, supported and promoted through research-based organizations, programs and curriculums.

Often when a parent is experiencing some behaviors with their child that are challenging, the first thing that comes to mind is what’s wrong with my child? How can I fix him?”  By simply looking instead at the other side, we can focus more on what the child’s needs are, his goal of misbehavior vs. just trying to stop the behavior with little success.

A mom I talked to recently told me the struggle she had with her two children when she got home from work in the evening.  Dad picks them up from daycare and so they are waiting at home eagerly for mom’s return.  Of course, this is transition time for mom – and she is not all that receptive for their immediate demands for attention.

This discordant scene was setting the whole tone of the evening off on a disagreeable note.

After discussing her needs and the children’s needs, she talked with the children to inform them that when she arrived home, she needed five minutes to change her clothes and use the bathroom – alone!  Then they would have time before dinner to sit on the floor, share, hug, read and connect together.

For connection was what the misbehavior was all about.

Looking at the other side – like frosting the other side of the cookie- a different solution that worked and worked well.

May you have many opportunities this holiday time to connect with each other – and think about the other side when something’s not working.

If you would like to explore “the other side” in a situation in your family, give me a call at The Parenting Place – 784-8125.

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