Perception is what is real!
The other day when "S" actually shut Her bedroom door when I asked her a question, I was thinking that I better hit the books again and not rely on my intuitition. I taught parenting classes for twenty years here and there, and could not remember a thing about what to do in this situation. My primate parent usually rises to such an occasion and results in throwing open the door, raising one's voice, questioning such defiance, and doling out a punishment. For some reason, (maybe it is because my reflex time has slowed down with age) but that did not seem like such a great idea. I left the hallway, thought about what I used to teach and remembered what I always told my student parents. "It is not the present moment that matters, but the message that the child is taught through each learning situation." Every experience can be a teaching moment. If the lessons all include mutual respect, and valuable skills, than the child develops life long perceptions. Perceptions are the unique glasses that each individual uses to view life and situations. What is actually real is NOT what the individual will respond to, but the perception of the situation. Thus my response even to her independence and defiance is based on her youthful perception which I must shape in a certain direction. H. Stephen Glenn and Jane Nelson state it best in their book: Raising Self-reliant children in a Self-Indulgent World (New York, 1996). They suggest that the following perceptions and skills develop naturally with effecting parenting: "Strong perceptions of personal capabilities (I am capable). 2. Strong perceptions of significance in primary relationshhips,(I contribute in meaningful ways and I am genuinely needed), 3. Strong perceptions of personal power or influence over life (I can influence what happens to me), 4. Strong intrapersonal skills (the ability to understand personal emotions and to use that understanding to develop self-discipline and self-control), 5. Strong interpersonal skills (the ability to work with others and develop friendships through communicationg, co-operating, negotiating, sharing, empathizing, and listening), 6. Strong systemic skills (the ability to respond to the limits and consequences of everyday life with responsibility, adaptability, flexibility, and integrity), 7, Strong judgmental skills (the ability to use wisdom and to evaluate situraions according to appropriate values)." Honestly, you have to ask yourself, if someone possesses all these perceptions he/she could not possibly fail. It is with this in mind that I opened the door slowly, told her calmly that I was hurt when she shut the door and aked her what she was feeling when she did it. When she told me, I gave her a better way to express this feeling that would not offend me and hugged her. I gave her sometime to think about what I said and closed the door. Then I smiled......
Garden Ridge, Texas