Alternately titled, “Have I irreparably screwed him up yet?”
Last week I shared how we are going through a challenging parenting phase. Overall I think we’re doing pretty well, but today may I present two awesome (read: heartbreaking) parenting fails.
- During one uncharacteristically difficult and tear-filled bedtime, my husband took over and went back into Conlan’s room to calm him down. A few moments later, Conlan came out of his room, all smiles, and started walking back toward the living room. I was irritated, assuming my husband had caved and was going to let Conlan stay up for a few more minutes to play. Always the fan of consistency, I sternly said, “Go back to your room and go to bed.” His little face crumpled and he ran back down the hallway. He fell, sobbing into Daddy’s arms. Rusty looked at me and said, “He just wanted to say goodnight and give you one last hug.” Ouch.
- Rusty and I were working together on the BBQ on the back patio when I came back inside and Conlan was nowhere to be found. I did find him pretty quickly – in the front yard. It’s against our rules to go out the front door by yourself. In addition, he had let the dog out too, who was trying to follow the neighbors into their house. Not remotely interested in a discussion, I told Conlan to come back in the house immediately for a time out. As I knelt down beside him to explain that he cannot go out front by himself, Conlan looks at me and says quietly, “But I couldn’t find mommy and daddy.” Ouch again.
Conlan got an apology from me on both occasions, and taught me a lesson as well. Swiftness and consistency in discipline are both important, but sometimes slowing things down a little bit is necessary, too.