Plan C – Retreat

Posted on August 29, 2008 by


The is the story of how I discovered the basic parenting skill that I’m sure the rest of you are already aware of.

I was sitting at the table with Alanna the other night while she was coloring a picture of a horse. She enjoys coloring and has gotten pretty good at it. However, she has high expectations of herself, and that can be hard for her sometimes. On this night in particular, she was getting frustrated because her crayons weren’t staying in the lines.

After some time fighting with the crayons, she asked me to color it for her. At first I encouraged her to keep trying, and told her (like I think a good dad does), “You can do it!” When her frustration got to the point of tears, I didn’t know what to do. Do I do it for her, and leave her with the impression that, no, she really can’t do it? Or do I keep giving positive encouragement, when I know full well that those crayons aren’t going to stay in the lines?

Then all of a sudden, the answer came to me — “Alanna, let’s put the crayons away and go read a story.” Yes! That worked, the evening was saved, and my daughter was happy again. So now I know that, when all of the available options sound bad, “none of the above” can be a viable, and perhaps often the correct, answer.

Posted in: Family