Ally came home one day this week a little under the weather and proceeded to swing back and forth between sweet, sick angel and raving psychopath. The mood swings whipped by so fast they hurt my neck.
One thing you get really good at as a parent is seeing past that type of behavior. You know your kid is not a mean person, they’re just tired because they slept on your floor again last night because they are scared of Voldemort. You know that they’re having a tantrum because they’re hungry after only eating plain white starches all day. You sense that the impudent tone in their voice is because something happened at school or with their friends. You get that they love you, that their family does matter to them even if they said their three favorite things in the world are dancing, putty and their dog.
You see past all this because you are giving them the benefit of the doubt. You’re not jumping to the worst conclusion, you’re not attributing a permanent character defect from some single event. It dawned on me (only took 40 years and two kids!) we cut our kids the kind of slack we rarely give everyone else we meet in this life.
What if I assumed the best instead of the worst? Or if I tried to help instead snapping back? I think I’d feel better. Maybe they would feel better. Certainly my kids would see a better example.