“I asked Mom, not you!” she pouted.
Big brother slunk back into his seat. “But I was right, and Mom didn’t answer right away.”
He was upset, and so was she. She felt imposed upon and he felt unheard and disrespected.
I could turn around and scold him for answering when she had directed her question toward me. I’d done that before. But, I figured out there was another way.
Why not ask my daughter to hear her brother out? It’s a good thing for all children to learn, early in life, not to shut another down when he or she speaks.
My daughter didn’t know that her brother needed to be heard and feel valued. That he had in inborn desire to solve problems and feel wise. That when he offers his voice kindly, it speaks to his manhood when he’s heard.
She had no idea, but it’s up to us mothers to teach our daughters what they don’t know. When we scold our son for withdrawing after not being heard, we are trying to fix their reaction while failing to see the trigger behind the reaction.
We can spend a life time scolding people, but we’ll gain less ground than when hear them out.
When the daughter snaps at the son for answering, we should turn to her gently and remind her to hear people out, then request an additional answer from her mother. Perhaps she can apologize for snapping at her brother as well.
Mothers often look for ways to love on their sons, while missing many, many opportunities to show respect. But, many young males read love when they feel respect. It’s as vital as the air they breathe.
I want us moms not to parent in vain. Mothering is exhausting enough without having our best (and often naive) efforts unrewarded.
My youngest boy is great at problem solving. He has a detailed, nerdy brain, and I do not. Though he’s only eight years old, there are times when he fixes something for me. I use those times to thank him, tell him how great he is at fixing things, how intelligent his brain is, and how he could probably be a doctor when he grows up.
My little boy loves being hugged and loved on, but I can tell this speaks to an entirely different part of his brain.
This week I’ll be looking for opportunities to ask my oldest son for input. Perhaps he can research how to do something I need done, or help me choose a gift for a younger boy.
Daily, we can do things that last eternally. We just need to learn how.
And as for the daughter, she’s a whole other topic for discussion. But just briefly, she also needs to be heard. When she snaps at her brother for answering her question, she can be taught to hear him out, then request an additional answer from her mother. She could also ask her brother to wait to share his opinion until she’s received an answer from her mother.
Mothering is a constant dance between the masculine and feminine. But then, so is all of life. Welcome to the beauty!