Empathy with my son
Over the past few days my interactions with my son have been really interesting. He has been feeling the pain of some of his actions and has had to deal with the consequences. A word that he now knows the meaning of. I’m really happy that he is learning this idea of consequences, because I hope that some day when he gets a car, or a girlfriend that he will know, KNOW, that there are consequences to his actions… and therefore decide to not make some choices.
I KNOW I KNOW… a dad can hope though can’t he?!?!
Anyway, my son has had a difficult time focusing around the sleepy time hour, and instead of calming down and getting into the routine of going night night he thinks he’ll try out his comedy routine, which after a long day to his surprise is not that funny… most of the time. Well he’s pretty funny, but we’re trying to teach him some obedience, timing, and consequences.
Anyway, as a result of his comedic routines, last Thursday night lost his Nintendo DS on Friday, and tonight he lost his TV for tomorrow morning. Now for most kids and I’m talking 99 percent of them in El Paso, one day wouldn’t be a big deal. BUT because Anne and I are mean, our kids only have interaction with electronics… TV, DS, Internet on weekends. BASH ME LATER.
SOOOO to my point…. finally… To lose one of your 2 1/2 days is a big deal to my kids and the past two Thursday nights have been rough because well he lost his Friday. And he felt the pain, it was rough… and this is where the empathy comes in and it has been amazing.
As he’s in his bed upset and crying about his recent loss, I lay down next to him and begin to enter into his hurt. I think big deal, but to him it is… so I dive in. I talk about his hurt and then I say this…. “You know daddy has had some consequences for messing around too” (easy guys… no dirty secrets coming out here… this is a PG blog… most of the time). It’s almost like a switch is flipped. He realizes that his parents have had hurt before too, or had to deal with being disobedient, “Like what?” he says. I share about losing a toy, or getting grounded and not being able to play with friends… being sent to my room…etc etc.
And it immediately calms him down, he has a connection that wasn’t there before and he’s not alone in his pain and hurt anymore. We talk about making better choices and saying sorry… and he falls asleep at peace instead of a mess. Tonight my wife shared a story of consequences from her childhood too… he was sad that she lost her toy… he entered into her pain.
I like learning how to parent my kids, I like revelations like this one and I like making connections with my kids this way. Sometimes it feels like I know what I’m doing… then I cuss or yell at the stupid teenage girl in the parking lot at walmart because she doesn’t know how to drive…