To the Mother who Told my Husband How to Parent:
Deep breath before I type.
I don’t know if you raised your voice, spoke with emotion in a calm voice, or just used a tone that up-and-slapped my husband in the face. I know he didn’t like the way you dramatically lectured him about our son.
Now let’s be fair. Let’s lay our cards on the table. You love and are fiercely protective of your daughter. I am fiercely protective of my husband, son, and daughter. Where does this lead us? To discuss the problem? To discuss how you handled the way you spoke to my husband?
Events: My son – who we will call Hayes – played with one little girl.
Your daughter went to join them. We know not who initiated play with whom.
Yes, my husband gets caught up in a conversation, but he keeps a sharp eye on our son because no one knows our son better than us.
At some point, you marched over to my husband and told him something to the effect of, “Your son is saying ugly things to my daughter.”
Interruption [Here would have been a good time to let my husband talk to our son. Here would have been a good opportunity to find out what happened and let the actions of parenting occur]
Events continued … My husband talks to our son to find out what happened. Yes, our son did say something ugly. Yes, Hayes was in the wrong. His tone of voice with, “Go away,” is not something any child or parent wants to hear.
But, when my husband spoke with our son, and prepared him to apologize to your daughter, you didn’t give Hayes the chance.
You said, “We can’t stay here with him because of how he treated my daughter.” You left just before my husband had spoken and prepared Hayes to apologize.
My husband then put our son in timeout. Our son refused to which my husband responded with taking him from the mall and bringing him home. Hayes threw a tantrum.
Now, maybe your daughter is the perfect child who colors and plays gently with toys.
Maybe you didn’t know my husband and I co-parent to work with our son on his social skills with other children.
Maybe you didn’t know that when he does something wrong, most of the time it is quickly corrected and he becomes a good boy. He smiles and rubs your hand. He tells you he is, “Sorry.”
He earns consequences, good and bad, based on his behavior.
But, maybe you didn’t know he is combination extremely early case of ADHD with learning how to manage his behavior and little boy. We, as parents, work together to find the best approaches to take with our son.
Maybe you didn’t know we have to talk to him and listen to his side of the story before we just put him in timeout or take away favorite toy. We explain what’s right and wrong. He pats my hand in rhythm to repeat what he should say.
Maybe you didn’t know our son is not perfect, but he can be a playful, fun child most of the time. He requires communication, correction, and not immediate degradation.
Most importantly, you’re thankful it was my husband you met and not me.
Rebecca T. Dickinson
Every child is different. Every child is parented differently. Sometimes we don’t know what lies behind.