Parenting Education · Family Coach

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Look before you Leap (or Misplaced Parenting Assumptions)

It was Wednesday morning, and both my children needed to be somewhere (school and Montessori) and I had things to do, so I was busy.  I went into the bathroom to get something and that’s when I saw it.  A fat bunch of my daughter’s hair on the floor in the bathroom.

I sighed internally, she has been cutting her hair.  Ok, well it’s not like I am opposed to her having short hair, she can, if that’s what she wants, but I’d rather get it done properly than a Carys special.  I mean very few people can cut their own hair properly, let alone a four and a half year old.    So, I had to talk to her about this.  I picked up the bunch of hair and walked to where both of them were playing.

“Carys, what’s this?” I asked.  She didn’t reply.  I pressed on.  “Carys, have you been cutting your hair?” She looked sheepish, but didn’t reply, so I pressed even further.  “Did you cut your hair?”.  She mumbled “No.”  All through this my tone was even, I wasn’t shouting, yelling, no raised voice, and it was a calm tone.

Now I have a thing about lying, and I thought she probably was at this point, she has lied before, but she always ends up telling the truth because we are gentle with her.  “Carys,” I asked gently, “are you lying to Mummy.”

“NO!!!” she said firmly, “I am not!”

She promptly got down from the bed where she had been sitting and marched into my bedroom with me following her.  Once there she proclaimed, “Your booby thing got caught in my hair and it pulled my hair out.”

Ok… big step backwards!!  I had made a BAD assumption about her cutting her hair.  Mental note, remember (and I know this AND forget to do it), to not make assumptions about behaviour when questioning, instead I should have asked “Carys, can you tell me about this hair, I need to understand why a bunch of your hair is on the floor”.  So, feeling a little chastened about that, I then felt a mounting sense of, oh help, a new parenting problem…

So I asked, “Do you mean Mummy’s bra?”

“Yes” she responded.  “Your blue one.”

Fabulous, so now she’s going through the dirty laundry hamper and playing dress up with my bras.  At the age of four and a half.  Wow, I had hoped to deal with this one when she was older.

“Were you trying to put it on and wear it?” I asked, asking really gently and in a very curious voice, I didn’t want her to feel that this was not ok (even though for me it probably was not ok!).

“NO!!!” she said loudly and firmly.  Now I’m bewildered.  And to boot I had forgotten the lesson I had learned with my first wrong assumption, I had once again, in the space of not even two minutes made another false assumption about behaviour by loading the question.

“Ok” I said, thoroughly confused, because what else could she be doing with my bra?  “What were you doing?”

“I was snuggling into it on the floor, because it’s Mummy’s.”

There.  Wham.  Got me.  RIGHT. IN. THE. HEART.

Person leaping off cliff into ocean

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