Wednesday, January 30, 2013
A Conversation with Papa on Trust
Papa Bear and Josh were having a rough time the other night. A screen on the porch got torn and Papa was sure Josh had something to do with it, though Josh insisted he didn't know what happened. Later on, Josh and I were cooking. Just before he plunged his hand into some dough I asked, "Did you wash your hands when you came in?" Josh- Yeah *plunges hands into dough* Papa- Did you really? J- Yes! P- When? Which sink? J- Dad! I said yes! At this point I gave Papa one of those "take a deep breath and walk away before this escalates" looks behind Josh's back. Later on, Papa and I were talking alone. Papa- Can we talk about earlier? Me- Yeah. You know, your first response with him has to be trust. P- I'm still so irritated with the screen though. I'm certain he tore it (for reasons I won't get into here) but he keeps telling me he doesn't know what happened. What am I supposed to do when he's lying to me? How am I supposed to trust him? M- Well first off, I remember times when I got in trouble for things as a kid and I honestly didn't remember doing them. Your mind can wander and you can be goofing off lost in thought and not realize what you're doing. Maybe that happened. Maybe he really doesn't *know* how the screen tore. P- Maybe, but I still don't understand what you mean when you say my first response needs to be trust. M- Say he did rip the screen and he came and told you. How would you react? What would you say? P- I'd be mad. I'd ask him what he was doing. Why he wasn't being more careful. M- Do you hear how that is a judgment? No one wants to be judged when they make mistakes. So naturally he's not going to want to come tell you the truth. P- But what about when I ask him and he lies? I just don't understand why I'm supposed to pretend I believe him when I know he's lying. M- Its the same thing. He knows you're going to have a negative reaction to the truth, so he feels compelled to lie. He's afraid of your reaction to the truth. P- *grumble* M- You have to be a safe place for him now, so he can feel secure in coming to you with the truth later on. P- I'm still not seeing it. M- What does it accomplish for you to ask him what he was doing and why he wasn't more careful? Nothing positive. P- So what am I supposed to do? M- Make a statement of observation- "The screen got torn. It needs to be replaced. Want to replace it together?" It's like the other day when I made that huge mess on the floor. I knew I wasn't being careful, I didn't need anyone to tell me that. If he knowingly tore the screen he knows he made a mistake. He doesn't need us to tell him that. But he does need to know he's still loved and respected by us regardless. P- Yeah, I see what you're saying. M- And when you were drilling him about whether he'd washed his hands, how do you think that made him feel? P- Like I didn't trust and respect him. M- And how likely is he to feel open in coming to you if that's your relationship? P- *sigh* Not likely... M- I remember my parents treating me like that as a teenager. I was a good kid but they didn't think so. Eventually I started doing bad stuff because I got treated like crap regardless. P- Yeah... Okay I think I understand this now. You're so much better at this than I am. M- Not really, I just spend more hours with them everyday so I've had more practice. And for the record, I saw Josh wash his hands in the bathroom.