The mum who previously shared the trials and successes of her first year of RIE parenting in Parenting Against The Grain has shared another extraordinary story with me and it brilliantly illustrates the power of simply letting children know we understand them.
Hi Janet, I wanted to tell you about an incredible encounter I had with a four-year-old today. I was sitting on the floor at an op-shop searching through children’s books for Jess when I heard a commotion between a father and son. The dad wanted to go, but the son wanted to keep playing with the toys. I’m sure you can imagine the scene: “Let’s go”; “No!”; “Get up now”; “No!”; “I’ll leave you here”; and so on.
The dad started yelling and dragging his son by the arm but stomped off in a huff when he saw me watching. The boy started crying, and I said to him (remembering the dialogue you’ve provided), “You weren’t ready to go. You wanted to keep playing.” He stared at me. Then his mum yelled out that they were leaving without him.
The parents were out of earshot, and so I said: “They’re just saying that, they would never leave you behind. Do you want to run and catch up to them?” And this is the amazing part. He goes: “Yes, I will! Bye!” And he stopped crying, gave me a big smile and ran off.
I feel like I’ve cracked the toddler code. Thank you! I still have a way to go, but I get better every day.
For much more about the magical practice of acknowledging our children’s feelings (which is a code I recommend following from the moment they’re born) please read The Key To Your Child’s Heart.
(Photo by eyeliam on Flickr)