Here’s how it happened, yesterday I had proposed a late afternoon trip to the mall for the kids and I, just the three of us. We’d do a little shopping, have some fun doing the things I always say no to and then end with dinner in the food court. I was going to let them take the lead, going to all the stores they wanted to go to and allow myself to be talked into buying a couple things. In my mind, it would be a fun little adventure. As we got ready to walk out the door, I noticed my daughter was not getting ready. She suggested we just eat dinner at home and that’s when I knew something was up. After a little prodding, she admitted it would be too embarrassing for her to walk around the mall with her mom and little brother. Ouch. At that point, I had to pause for a minute and think how should I react? Should I make her go with us anyway? Should I change the plans to fit what she wants to do? We talked through a couple different ideas and in the end, decided my son and I would go to the mall and bring the dinner back while she stayed home.
It was not the outcome I wanted, but this wasn’t about me. I couldn’t dismiss her feelings. I remember how it used to feel when you would walk around thinking everyone is looking at you. As adults, that’s a funny thought, but as a pre-teen it’s very real. I think it’s easy for us as parents to try to rationalize with our kids, explaining to them why they should (or shouldn’t) feel a certain way. We’re tempted to share our experience, as if somehow our story allows them to fast forward through all these normal, awkward feelings. But the only way through the feelings is for them to muddle through them on their own. It’s all just part of growing up and we have to let them do it their own way.
Are you working through a similar parenting struggle? I currently have 2 openings in my 90-day, one-on-one, Parent Coaching Workshop and would love for you to fill one of those spots. Message me or comment below and I can fill you in on all the details.