When Your Mom is a Therapist
What Dylan doesn’t realize in his 22 month self is that his mommy is trained to be a therapist. Because of this training a lightbulb went on this past week and now Dylan is getting personal communication training on how to be direct. Let me explain.
Dylan’s new favorite phrase is “I don’t like ____” (everything from spiders and carrots, to ice cream and the Itsy Bitsy Spider)
When he first started saying this I’d respond with “Oh okay, honey, I’ll get you ___ instead” or “here, give it to me” or “what do you like?” Falling into his passive request.
It’s clearly an exploration for him in understanding his world because everything he likes best he at some point has come out to say he doesn’t like it, often in the same breath. Surely all kids go through this phase, but being my first time it has been both entertaining and irritating.
What I realized is that most of the time his declaration whether or not he likes something should be treated as just that: a declaration (not a request). So I have stopped predicting what he wants (a different song, etc.) and just responded “okay honey” or “that’s too bad” and moved on without “fixing” it. Ta-da. Honey, you can’t expect people to read your mind (even if they’d probably be pretty good at it). I’m hoping we’ll soon hear him follow up with “Can I have carrots instead” or “How about we sing Mary Poppins next?”
At least we are very clear on a few things: Dylan definitely does not like putting himself to bed.
It turns out that many of us adults are experts at indirect and implied statements:
- The grass is getting really long. (It’s time you go cut it)
- It’s freezing in here. (Turn the AC down)
- Do you want to take out the garbage? (I want you to take out the garbage)
May you think more about your words and make your loved ones happy by saying what you really mean.