Parenting Blog

Not Saying Every Thing

​From the back seat she asked to open the new Toy With Many Pieces, having the crinkly blind bag more than halfway open before even bothering to arrive at the question mark. The sensible answer was ‘no’ but no mind, she had no intention of heeding our opinion on the matter. We replied in unison anyway, to check a box, to be on record as the sensible ones. There’s some comfort in that.

Before we blew past the next mile marker, the head, hand and one of the Toy With Many Pieces’ accessories were lost in the way small pieces of small toys can become lost beneath your nose in a confined space. Tears followed. No one but her was surprised by the turn of events.

The gut reaction to this and similar situations by those with an empathy deficiency, those like me, is a quick trigger finger on a semiautomatic loaded to the brim with spite and ‘fuck you, I told you so.’ Everyone gets hit by the spray.

One of the most difficult transitions of trying to become not only a decent person but a dad worthy of the title is learning to leave bullets in the chamber by not saying every thing. This is not to say that concealing your weapon is healthy but to gain the ability and willingness to not draw it, flaunt it and fire it at anyone let alone the ones you love most in the world is the thing to work on first.

Firing away does feel orgasmic in the moment as you find instant relief in the form of expressed anger and grandious self righteousness but instant coffee is crap too even though the aroma may trick your brain into thinking the pleasure could be authentic.

The effects from the collateral damage of instant rage are obvious instantaneously and even a half-dimwit can extrapolate the longterm scars and subsequent healing needed.

Instead, a quiet heartfelt ‘I’m sorry sweetie, we can search for the head and arm and accessory at the next rest stop’ will make everything better in the moment and then later, when she’s calmer and your foolish need for victory has passed, a gentle conversation about choices and likely outcomes can occur. This is how the future improves in the present.

With luck, everyone learns a little something because not every thing was said, no shots were fired, nothing truly got lost in the end.

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  1. Pingback: Fatherhood on Friday: Finding a Cure for the Summertime Blues

  2. You are a good parent. Take it from 80 years and 5 kids.

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