Feelings First


I was at a park playdate today and as we were wrapping up, one of the usually chirpy kids erupted into full-blown howling. His mom ran over to investigate, and some of us joined in later. It turned out he was hit by another kid, and his mom was trying to determine if he was guilty of provocation. Another mom interjected, gently, saying, “Sort out his feelings first. The facts can wait.”

I thought that was very wise. It’s something I’m aware of (and appreciate when it’s done for me), but seldom abide by.

It’s always about the feelings, isn’t it? I had my own breakthrough with my mother-in-law quite recently, as she was confiding in me about her 10-year-old grandson’s behaviour. I resisted the urge to rationalise or problem solve (which would entail change on her part), and instead, said, “You must’ve been miserable during that time.”

To my surprise, she replied without hesitation, “Yes I was.”

It’s not often that my mother-in-law and I have an open exchange followed by healing release. I was even able to slip in an “I told you so” statement, which we both laughed at.

Just another thought to file away in the parental playbook. Useful for dealing with friends too.


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