Good evening, friends. My children enjoyed a lovely summer day with neighbors and good friends. We have an urban, collective sort of farm going on and between three houses we have chickens, bunnies, fish, cats, hamsters, and a pig! And we live in West Los Angeles! So, the children were frolicking and running between the houses. They swam in the house with a pool, took a bath with six kids in a tub, face-painted, water-colored, rode bikes; a gorgeous offering of yumminess in my oh-so-humble opinion. Then it came time to leave the fun and accompany Mom (me) on some errands. My children protested. They resisted. They made their dissatisfaction known. Now, I probably could have left them with the neighbors, but I had already done that earlier while I was seeing a client, and it had been a full day and I wanted to pull my children back into their center. I knew that in the rather benign in-and-out tasks of my errands, they would locate themselves internally within the microcosm of our family and have a little downtime from the stimulus; part of the balance of living in the kind of social atmosphere that we enjoy. So, I acknowledged their displeasure with my choice for our next activity but proceeded none-the-less. We hit the road and hit many marks, and by the end of things, I decided to go to a restaurant for our dinner. This is a rare treat for my children as 95% of our meals are eaten at home. Now, shockingly enough, when I announced the thrill at the end of the errands, my son burst into tears saying that he didn’t like eating in restaurants, it wasn’t fun and he “wasn’t happy at all.” I responded with a L.O.V.E. Parenting technique called “Feelings Pass.” I didn’t try to talk him out of his feelings, I didn’t shame him for being “ungrateful,” nor did I change our plan. I mirrored what I was hearing, I picked him up and held him and told him I was sorry it wasn’t his first choice. I explained my reasoning as to why were going out to dinner. And then we proceeded to enter the restaurant. I was a little nervous about how my son would handle it, especially because we are usually on an early bed schedule and here I was entering a restaurant at 7:30pm with a six-year old, four-year old and a 16-month-old, without my husband no less. But, for some reason, I decided to just “be that mom” and assume it would be easy-breazy, as if I was with girlfriends. We entered and there was a television on. My screen-deprived son was suddenly quite on board with my dining-out decision. Rather than push my luck and log extra hours sitting waiting for the food, we went to the restroom to leisurely wash up and pass the time. We returned and I served my youngest bits of the big-people-food and we truly enjoyed ourselves. We left and my son was complimentary, my eldest daughter was thrilled with the “date” and my baby was a mess but happy. I felt satisfied that I hadn’t been swayed by their grumbling at errands and my son’s resistance to going out to dinner. Their feelings can pass, just as ours do. Sometimes theirs are more intimidating because they can be so vocal about their displeasure. But, that doesn’t mean we have to react and change our plan. We can instead, bear witness, empathize and then proceed and teach them to exercise the muscle that “feelings pass.” Everyone ate fortune cookies on the way home; the first one read, “Your self-confidence will get you far.” L.O.V.E. Parenting
About Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams created L.O.V.E. Parenting with a series of techniques for effective communication, deepened connection and more joy in parenting and life. Jessica is also the creator of www.UltimateParentingCourse.com with the best of today’s progressive parenting experts together in one program. Jessica is a featured expert internationally on both Mothering.com’s Ask An Expert and the upcoming www.KidsInTheHouse.com. Jessica is a regular contributor to Mothering Magazine’s All Things Mothering, LA Parent Magazine, LA Mom Magazine & DailyBuzzMoms. She has been interviewed on television and radio and taught workshops at family wellness centers, schools and doctor’s offices. Her BirthKit has helped women have a transformational & empowering birth. Jessica maintains a private coaching practice in her native Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and their three children. “Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss. “All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet. “I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald.