Making some reminder phone calls to parents who had registered for the upcoming Bunny Hop last week, I happened to reach one mom in her car with a tantruming toddler. I could tell by the mom’s voice, above the hullabaloo, that she was dealing with a very determined child who apparently had been thwarted in her efforts to run loose in the parking lot.
As parents, we’ve all been faced with similar situations. As much as we’d like it if our children accepted the necessary limits we set to keep them safe (our job), our children need to express their frustration and determination to do what they want ( their developmental job).
I’ve talked before about exercising a child’s disappointment muscles. For sometimes children do need to wait, or to stop, or to start – because they must – and they are not happy about it. Carrying on with confidence and a convincing dose of empathy toward your child’s dismay is all a parent can do.
And so, I suggested to this mom to continue on her way home and when they get there, to tell her young daughter “now here is a safe place for us to run, run, run.”
This mom was joking a few days later that she “got caught by Fran” in a weak parenting moment.
Oh, no, on the contrary!
This was a parenting moment of strength.