The Benefit of the Doubt

October 5th, 2012

I had one further thought related to Miss Mouse’s choir boycott that I wanted to share.  When you find yourself in a situation like that — with your child stubbornly refusing to do something that you want them to do — try to give your kiddo the benefit of the doubt.

Because she had been enjoying choir practice and because I know she likes our church friends, my first assumption when Miss Mouse balked was that was just being ornery.  She was grumpy or grouchy or – maybe, just maybe – she just wanted to piss me off.  (After all, it’s all about me, right?)  That fueled my own emotional response to be one of frustration rather than empathy.

But take a step back, lady.  What if she really was nervous, or even frightened by the prospect of getting up in front of folks?  Let’s not forget that surveys say more people fear public speaking than fear death.

My job as her mother is not to be the feelings police, determining which emotions she is permitted to have when.  By giving her the benefit of the doubt when it came to her feelings, I was able to dial back my own and channel them into a more appropriate response.

2 responses to “The Benefit of the Doubt”

  1. Jen says:

    Your two posts really make me think about something that I did this summer. We were at Kennywood and my oldest refused to ride ANYTHING, even rides that she had ridden before. She just decided that she was scared, dug her heels in, and that was it.

    AT first, I did not react well, making a bunch of empty threats (like, “if you won’t ride anything, then we’re leaving”… which was not true), but then I realized that we were there to have fun, and that my job was to help her have fun in ways that were fun for her.

    And all of this b/c guess who else gets nervous on amusement park rides? That would be me.

    • Kate says:

      I can totally imagine how that could set off your blood pressure! Especially when they dig their heels in about something they used to like. Kudos for realizing that you could rise above the frustration and still have a good day.

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