Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sometimes I'm Way Off Mark

Parenting: sometimes you think you're doing it right, but you're way off mark.

Yesterday my grandparents, who live in another state and we've haven't seen in 2-3 years, came over to visit for lunch. Josh (9y) was just waking up as they arrived. There were hugs all around, the "Good to see you!" and all that. They gave Josh a little grief for sleeping so late, lightheartedly, and then asked him, "So what do you do with your day? You know, the half when you're not sleeping?"

He answered, "Well I play legos in my room. Alone. Because my mom and dad never want to spend time with me." and he breaks down and cries right there in the middle of the living room.

I have never felt like such a jerk in my entire life. And my reaction was even worse. "We just went on a date and I built the lego set you bought with you on Saturday!" I didn't validate his feelings or rush to comfort him. My immediate reaction was focused on me, saving face in front of my grandparents.

It doesn't matter that I thought we were spending plenty of quality time together. What matters is that he does not feel we spend enough quality time together. I need to make sure I am expressing love to him in such a way that he feels loved. I need to be attentive in such a way that he feels he is receiving the attention he needs.

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