My daughter asked me to draw a princess for her.
She had been drawing often but recently she had just stopped. Instead, she had begun asking me or my husband to draw for her every time.
I knew that she was judging herself harshly, and I wanted to see if she could work through it.
I heard her request and set a limit. I told her, “No, honey. I know you can do this.”
She whined and cried, “No, all I do is scribble-scrabble!”
I asked her if someone had told her that and she said it happened at school. I just stayed with her, letting her know I loved her and that I believed in her and that I knew she could draw a princess.
Saying No Gently
She cried and wailed and screamed “scribble-scrabble!” for 30 minutes but I kept on loving her and reaffirming my belief in her until, finally, she picked up a crayon and started drawing.
She was happy, willing and confident for the rest of night.
I did question myself at first, (and of course, I would love to draw a princess), but I knew how much she loves to draw and it was painful to see her being so hard on herself.
Staylistening was a really comfortable way for me to set a limit without feeling like I was walking away or giving in. I knew that I could really help her through her insecurity, and it was really great that she releases that hurt enough to move on. I didn't want to jump in and save her – I had confidence in both of us.
Since her cry, she has been drawing princesses, and plenty more, and giving them to me as presents.
And she hasn't once described her work as “scribble-scrabble.”
–a mother in San Francisco, CA
Why it Works:
Crying lets children push against the fears that worry them, express the tension and release it to move on. Find out about this tool, Staylistening, and Hand in Hand's other Five Listening Tools in this post and then download the PDF, Five Revolutionary Ideas that Make Parenting Less Stressful.