I was sitting behind a mom and her two sons the other day and it was all I could do to not lean forward and compliment her on what an incredible son she has and suggest that she see this young man more clearly. Yes, I know that would have been rude...so I didn't, but oh how he needed her to have this skill!
Her younger son (2nd or 3rd grader maybe?) was a big hand-full, maybe ADHD, and the setting we were in begged that he sit calmly and quietly. Well, he wasn't doing very well on his own but his older brother ( suppose 13 or so) was incredible with him. He soothed him, entertained him silently, hugged him and had him sit on his lap when he was antsy. Mom was pretty unplugged at this time. She let big brother handle the situation. Unfortunately, it all imploded. Big brother turned to pay attention to what was happening at the front of the room and little brother lost it. He couldn't regulate on his own. He started kicking big brother...big brother lost his temper and gave him a look. Then little brother poked at big brother in multiple other ways...and big brother was done. He got very upset and quietly let little brother know where he was at emotionally. Mom caught this exchange and proceeded to let big brother know that she was unhappy with his behavior. I am behind them thinking...what?? This is an injustice! You are so missing what is happening here. As she proceeded to cuddle up little brother, big brother's feelings were SO hurt! He just looked at her in disbelief and then turned away.
Oh Mom, you sent a strong message and I don't think it was the one you wanted to send. Yes, you were SO patient with your little guy. Clearly you understand his special needs, but your older son needed you to SEE him too. As Intentional Parents, we really need to see each of our children as the whole person they are and to be able to meet them right where they are at. The older brother in my story needed his Mom to see how hard he had tried, how patient he had been and how he was just a young man too and didn't know how to handle it any longer. I just kept hoping Mom would see both of her sons.
As parents, we are so powerful in the building up or tearing down of our children's view of themselves, their ability to have strong healthy relationships and their belief that they can make a positive impact in the world. WE MUST be INTENTIONAL! Do it differently if necessary! Meet each of our children right where they are at.
Remember...you are NOT alone!
Stacy Manning .