Tonight I experienced why it is so important to get Eye to Eye with my child when trying to communicate.
The boys and I (6 ½-year-old Greyson and 4 ½-year-old Reid) were enjoying our Friday evening with a Red Box movie. We were having our typical movie treats (popcorn and ice cream).
While we were all lying on the couch, Reid decided to help himself to some orange juice. On one hand, I was happy to have my 4-year-old son helping himself to a drink when he was thirsty. On the other hand, I was annoyed that he had poured himself a full cup of juice right before bed.
I turned my head to acknowledge him and what he had poured and gave him a little lecture about how he should have chose water since it was right before bed and how I didn’t want him to pee his bed and have all that sugar etc.
Naturally, I expected him to think—“You’re absolutely right Mom!” Yeah right. He just continued to pound it until it was almost gone when I firmly said, “Reid, stop drinking that juice!” He obviously did not like how I was speaking to him—who would?
To my surprise, he got right in my face and shouted at me, “OK MOM!”
I was so upset, and I felt so disrespected! I told him he was done watching the movie and that he needed to go upstairs and go to bed.
By his response and my immediate realization, we both apologized and said we wanted to try again. What I learned from this moment was that if I had actually gotten up off the couch, and looked at Reid Eye to Eye while explaining all my concerns about his drink of choice; he would have heard me. If I had used a respectful and calm tone, he would have felt respected.
Of course, I realized all this after I messed up. Reid melted and crushed my heart at the same time when he told me, “I just don’t like it when you yell at me.”
Once again, mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn!