Written by, Bernadyn Nettles
Avoiding a Broken Heart
A few weeks ago, my son had his first school dance that he attended. I let my son down and completely forgot about the dance. I was a no show and in a Mommy Cab Discussion on the way home that day, he let me know that I broke his heart. When I realized what missing that dance meant to him, my heart broke, too. He taught me a lesson about listening and as parents, there are times when we cannot always attend every event but this time, I had no actual excuse. It was another lesson I learned as a parent. I wrote these "Top 5 Parenting Lessons I Have Learned" last week for Healthy Moms Magazine and now, I'm adding the lesson that parents need to listen, not just hear their kids. The list of things I'm learning on my parenting journey is definitely growing!
Parents Need to Listen, Too
During that sad car ride home, my son let me know how upset and hurt he was that I did not go to the dance. The discussion opened up slowly with the simple statement of, "Today was my dance." I did not realize how upset he was at first when he said this.
I told him I forgot and then he asked why I was not there. I was thrown back and told him I did not realize parents could go. After I said that, I realized that I should have known that of course parents were allowed to go.
He said how other parents were there and he just sat at the table and did not dance. He told me he wanted me to be there to dance with him. That made me sad to hear that he did not enjoy his dance because of my absence. He had so much to say once he got the ball rolling. It was like bullets being fired at me one after the other.
Children Deserve Our Full Attention
I do remember him telling me about the dance but I was most likely distracted at the time and he did not have my full attention, therefore, I did not realize that parents could attend. I should have written it down on the calendar and set a reminder in my phone. That's pretty much the only way I do remember anything nowadays! The real truth is that I should have stopped whatever I was doing at the time when he first told me about it and actually listened for a moment to what he was saying. Kids deserve our full attention.
Things come up and even if you make plans, you cannot always follow through especially if you have another child to care for at home. This time, I had no real excuse, however, because I could have made arrangements as long as my other child was not sick. Also, it was possible to rearrange my schedule if I needed to get work done on that day.
The real problem was that I did not truly listen to him when he told me the details of his school event.
The ride home in the Mommy Cab that afternoon got worse... He broke my heart and told me that he was not going to let me hug or kiss him when we got home. He was steadfast on not letting this go and I totally understood why he felt that way.
I let him down and he felt neglected, unheard and unimportant.
Lesson learned: always listen and not just hear it! As a parent, it is important to find that time to talk and actually use it to listen to what are kids are saying. Write it down in the calendar right away before you forget, set a reminder and include any details.
My son taught me that day in the car that I should have listened better and his broken heart could have been avoided. Attending his school dance meant the world to him.
I tried to make up for it by promising to take him to another dance soon or even to his high school prom but he replied with, "No, I don't want you to go to prom with me. I want Daddy to go."
He does not yet know what prom is, at least, I don't think I do (there I go, not listening again)! but I guess Daddy will be the one to take him to that!
I'm sure he will get over this, he hardly mentions it to me now :) However, I want to make sure I remember it so that I can avoid it from happening again.
What are some lessons you have learned as a parent or do you have a story about a time when you broke your kid's heart? I'd love to hear about it if you would like to share!
Also, if you have your own Mommy Cab Discussion you would like to write about, I'd love for you to share it in a guest post!
Join us next time for a Mommy Cab Discussion :)
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