Parenting From Inside The Puddle

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parenting_from_inside_the_puddle_smallYesterday afternoon, I pulled up to the dry cleaners to drop off a few items. It was a damp day, the rain had stopped but the aftermath of the storm had left the parking lot full of puddles. As I was gathering my clothing together to leave the car, I noticed a dad crossing the parking lot with his 3-year-old son. The dad was struggling with a huge basket of dirty laundry (next to the dry cleaners is a laundry mat) while the little boy was following close behind. I love watching parent-child interactions when I am out in the world. Noticing how parents parent; when it works and when it doesn’t keeps me connected to the pulse of the daily struggles parents face. I stopped for a moment before getting out of my car to observe.

Dad carried an overflowing laundry basket that towered above his head. His 3 -year old son followed behind toting a small white laundry bag slung over his shoulder. (I imagined that his teddy bears were going to go for a spin! Dad had a little helper.)

At the edge of the sidewalk was 3 -foot wide puddle. Dad adroitly stepped over the puddle onto the sidewalk and continued on; his back to his son. The little boy purposely (of course!) walked right through the puddle immersing his shoes in the water. As soon as he reached the sidewalk, without pause he turned right around and I saw his sweet little face. I was witness to a glorious smile complete with childhood joy and discovery.

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He looked over his shoulder to check where his dad was. His dad had made it to the front door of the laundry mat. Without a care in the world, the little boy jumped back into the puddle and stamped his feet over and over and over again. The more he stamped his feet, the bigger his smile became. The childhood joy was classic. Next he jumped up to the sidewalk and looked to see where his dad was standing. Up until this moment his dad had not turned around to check on him. Dad was placing the basket on the stoop of the laundry mat and was in the process of opening the door. And guess what? The little boy turned around and jumped from the walk into the puddle for more stamping and splashing.

It was then that his dad turned around searching for his son. The little boy was giggling, laughing, stamping and splashing…even more pleased with the fun that he had created for himself than when he jumped into the puddle the first time.

But…on dad’s face was a different look. It was the look of anger and frustration. Dad left the laundry on the stoop and ran to the puddle and dragged his son by the elbow while screaming and yelling at him for not staying close by and for getting wet. The little boy began to cry as he was dragged inside the laundry mat.

This made me so sad. It reminded me of all the missed joyful opportunities that busy, stressed out parents give up and avoid for the have to dos. “I have to do the laundry, make dinner, clean the house or get somewhere”. It also reminded me of a cartoon I saw recently: The father is sitting at the computer and the child approaches saying, “Daddy, look at the picture I just made!” The father says, “Keep talking, I’m listening.”

Moms, dads, we need to get into the puddles with our kids.

So today, take a few minutes to join in the joy of discovery. Whether it is stamping in a puddle with your child or stopping what you are doing to be present in their joyful, creative worlds; they need, require your presence, your approval, your witness, your smiles & your loving attention. These moments are the stuff that gives us goose bumps, makes us smile, and gives us pause to what really is important in the short time our children live with us.

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Susan always knew she was meant to help people. She became a psychotherapist and had a successful practice. After 23-years Susan left her successful psychotherapy practice to launch a business in uncharted territory. In 2007, Susan created and grew her parent coach business. By living her true purpose, Susan began coaching parents to successfully manage children and adolescents with challenging and resistant behaviors. Susan has sold over 10,000 books and products and continues to write books and develop up to date books and parenting videos. Head over to www.parentingpowers.com to get your free report on step by step system to get respectful, well behaved kids.

About Susan P. Epstein

Susan always knew she was meant to help people. She became a psychotherapist and had a successful practice. After 23-years Susan left her successful psychotherapy practice to launch a business in uncharted territory. In 2007, Susan created and grew her parent coach business. By living her true purpose, Susan began coaching parents to successfully manage children and adolescents with challenging and resistant behaviors. Susan has sold over 10,000 books and products and continues to write books and develop up to date books and parenting videos. Head over to www.parentingpowers.com to get your free report on step by step system to get respectful, well behaved kids.

2 Comments

  1. Daniela Sulek

    January 22, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Yes, guilty. That’s how I used to reacting when things got crazy at work or at home. I always have to keep reminding myself that those are my problems, not problems of my kids. They deserve our time and attention. Thank you, Susan for sharing this story; it’s a beautiful reminder!

  2. thuy

    January 22, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    love this and a great reminder to cherish those simple childhood moments…whether we know it or not we secretly miss those carefree days.

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