A few days ago I was helping two year-old Esther, aka “Essie”, drink her bright red cherry Kool-Aid from a big girl cup. She was doing a great job of it, too. But you know how the ice in the cup falls forward when you get close to running out of whatever is in the cup? Well that’s what happened to Essie. And you know what happens when the ice falls forward, don’t you?
Yep, whatever is in the cup comes splashing out on you.
How dare that Kool-Aid! Or in Essie’s mind, how dare that cup!
When that happens to you or me we wipe our face and go on. No big deal. But to two year-old Essie, I can assure you it was a big deal…a really big deal. But not in the way you might think. Essie was a mixture of scared and mad. Not at the ice or the Kool-Aid, though…at the cup. In fact, when I went to give her another drink a minute or so later, she refused to drink out of that cup.
“No!” she said, and then pointed at my cup and said, “Drink.”
I tried again, but she was insisted the drink come from my cup. My cup was empty, so I dumped what was in her cup into mine (minus the ice) and sure enough, she drank to her heart’s content.
“You had your chance, Kool-Aid cup,” was Essie’s thought process. “You may have gotten me once, but you won’t ever do it again.”
Essie didn’t understand that the cup wasn’t the culprit and nothing I was going to say or do would be able to change her mind. Since it wasn’t a big deal I didn’t really even try, but that’s not always going to be the case in raising your children and as parents you need to be ready, willing, and able to guide them toward understanding and accepting that getting mad and getting even isn’t the way to handle situations that don’t go their way.As parents you need to be teaching by example and instruction that when things don’t turn out the way we want them to, getting mad isn’t the solution, or when their friends hurt their feelings, shunning them won’t solve the problem. They need to know that losing a game or not getting the grade the grade they think they deserve isn’t someone else’s fault, but the result of their not playing as well as the other team or studying hard enough to get an A.
Your children are watching your every move and hanging on your every word. Even when you think they aren’t, they are. Trust me on this one. So ask yourself: Are you giving the Kool-Aid cups in your life a fair shake or are you blaming them for something they didn’t even do? Because your kids are taking their cue from you.
Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.