Son Spills Cereal This Morning

My little guy was eating his cereal... the bus was to arrive at any moment so I put his jacket hood over his head so he could put it on between bites.  I left the room but heard some commotion and his squeals of frustration as apparently he hit his bowl of cereal with his arm as he was putting on his jacket resulting in spilled milk all over his outfit, the chair and the floor.

I'm quite the multitasker and I do impose this upon my children - not intentionally, but it is a side effect of living with me I'm afraid.  I'm conscious of it and I'm working on focusing on one thing at a time, doing it well, then moving on to another task.  Nevertheless, this morning I initiated my kid to do two things at once and it turned out badly!

My response was to help him out of his clothes, find him new clothes, help him clean up the mess and get him out the door... I think the one thing I said to him (in attempt to make it a learning opportunity) was, "You've got to be careful where your arms go when you put on your jacket."  Yes... that was the best I could get out of my mouth this morning...  which was better than "What's wrong with you!" which I'm convinced is one of the worst things we could ever say to anyone.

In hindsight, I could have been a bit more hands off, helping him to quickly process the situation for himself instead of imposing the learning opportunity... asking "What did you learn from that experience?" OR "What did you learn from what happened?"  might have been better... he could have said... "That you shouldn't have put my jacket on my head."  My challenge with that is not taking it personally... and reacting defensively to the "you shouldn't have..." part.  How not to take it personally... agree with the truth in the statement... "Perhaps you're right."  In which case we could have then spoken briefly about the importance of doing one thing at a time and doing it well. 

I'm betting though that we could have moved to the part where he could have said... "I could have finished my cereal before putting on my jacket"... or "I could have put my jacket on away from the table" or "I could have pushed my cereal bowl away from me before putting on my jacket."  See... all of those are his conclusions that would in the future prevent him from having to change his clothes as the bus pulls up... speaking of which, we might conclude together that getting out of bed 5 minutes earlier might help alleviate feeling rushed in the morning. 

He is a smart kid... and a creative kid, as are all of your kids... we just unintentionally sell them short too often.  If we involve them in learning from their own experiences and move on to solution finding instead of providing them with all the answers or pressuring ourselves to find all the answers, they'll feel more empowered and all should go more smoothly with regards to family dynamics in our household.  Right?  =)

My Best,


Published: Oct 12, 2010 by Jodi Harvey (Santa Cruz, CA)


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