My thoughts went crazy for a few minutes. "He is lying to us. I'm a failure as a mother. He is going to ruin his life. What will people think?" I was feeling pretty upset, so my feeling compass let me know that I was caught up in my thought system and was not seeing things clearly. I dismissed my compass instead of my thoughts for a minute and used more thoughts to argue with my inner wisdom.
"Yes, but this is different. These are really terrible circumstances over which I have no control. How could I possibly see them differently? I am going to have to scold him severely, ground him for at least a month, take away all his privileges, and let him know he is ruining his life."
Fortunately, I had too much faith in my inner wisdom to take those thoughts seriously. I dismissed my crazy thinking, and inspiration from my inner wisdom quickly surfaced. I then saw the circumstances in a completely different way and felt understanding and compassion for my son's view of the situation. He had just entered junior high school, where the pressure is enormous to follow the crowd rather than to follow common sense.
When I got home I listened to my inspiration and knew what to do. I sat down with my son, put my arm around him and said, "I'll bet it's tough trying to figure out how to say no to your friends so you won't be called a nerd or a party pooper." He had been expecting my usual craziness and hardly knew how to respond to my sanity.
He tentatively said, "Yeah."
I went on. "And I'll bet the only reason you would ever lie to us is because you love us so much you don't want to disappoint us." Tears filled his eyes, and he gave me a big hug. I responded with tears in my own eyes as we experienced those wonderful feelings of mutual love. I reassured him, "If you think you could ever disappoint us enough to diminish our love, then we are not doing a good enough job of letting you know how much we love you, unconditionally."
We can only guess what the result would have been had I followed my crazy thought to interact wit my son. My guess is that my craziness would have inspired increased rebelliousness instead of increased closeness.
Excerpted from Positive Discipline A to Z by Jane Nelsen, Lynn Lott, and H. Stephen Glenn
Dr. Jane Nelsen is a licensed Marriage, Family and Child Counselor in South Jordan, UT and San Clemente, CA. She is the author and/or coauthor of the numerous books, including Positive Discipline. Jane's doctorate degree in Educational Psychology from the University of San Francisco in 1979 is secondary to the education and experience she achieved from her successes and failures as a mother of seven children. She now shares this wealth of knowledge and experience as a popular keynote speaker and workshop leader throughout the country. Jane has appeared on Oprah, Sally Jessy Raphael, and Twin Cities Live, and was the featured parent expert on the National Parent Quiz with Ben Vereen.
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