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.