There is Often No Script for Parenting

After a wonderful Saturday in the park playing and picnicking, Mom, Dad, Grandmother, Uncle and 6 year old son head home to get ready for a meal in a restaurant to celebrate Mom’s birthday.

Everyone is tired but happy and B., the 6 year old, has gotten plenty of chances to play and have “six year old fun” throughout the day.

The restaurant is family friendly, a short walk away and has an outdoor space with ample room to “run around” in case B. has trouble sitting still.

Even though B. usually likes going to this particular restaurant he “goes on strike” saying he “just can’t go out any more.” Throwing his head on his bed he starts to cry, saying he needs to have some time to play with the lego set that he has been using to build some new complicated structures.

Dad thinks he could stay home to play with B. while Mom says they could all go and that things will probably be fine when they get there.

B. overhears Dad’s offer and is now even firmer in his refusal to go. Mom eventually leaves the house, heading to the restaurant and Uncle and Grandmother decide to follow a short while later. B. continues crying and is determined to stay put.

Dad takes a deep breath sits in the room with B. listening to him sob and calmly explaining that they should probably go; text messaging his wife as he hopes for some kind of happy ending to what had been a wonderful day.

A half hour later Dad and B. happily stroll into the restaurant, birthday presents in hand smiling. B. gives Mom her gifts, most of them appropriate for a 6 year old and everyone has a great time. B. doesn’t even need to run around.

Sometimes a calm and patient presence can sort things through but there is often no script for parenting.