WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM?
Perhaps the greatest validation a parent can receive is for his own children to emulate his parenting style. I recently observed my son copying one of my main parenting rules…never be a referee. Actually I did not realize this was my rule until my son reminded me.
One of the Crankettes came running to my son complaining that he was pushed and hit by his older sibling. My son’s response?
“What did you do to him?”
“I tookt his ball.”
“Give the ball back and stop fighting.”
The Crankette returned to his brother and they went on playing without incident.
My son then turned to me and said,
“I learned that from you, you know.”
“That the way to stop from being a referee is to always take the non-whiners side. You always did that. Mike and I learned quickly to never bring you into an argument. We settled our battles without you because you always asked, ‘What did you do to him’.”
“Oh yeah, one time Mike and I got into a fight when you and mom were out to dinner. He pushed me and just as you and mom came home, I punched him in the nose. His nose started to bleed. He didn’t have a chance to retaliate. He didn’t cry, but he was mad at me. He was mad at me because,
‘Now I’m going to be in trouble because dad is going to ask what did I do to make you punch me.’
Sure enough, you heard the ruckus, came upstairs, saw Mike’s bloody nose and yelled,
‘What did you do to make Matt punch you?’
Because you always assumed any battle was the result of retaliation from what the other must have done, we never bothered to bring you into our battles. I am using the same technique.”
I am so proud!