Practicing Moods

“Don’t touch my tiger. This is my ‘Don’t Touch Me Tiger.’”

This rather mean phrase one of our kids spoke to another kid, her sibling.

Oh, our three beautiful children. They can be rough on each other; like all kids, I suspect.

Rather than react outwardly to this comment one made to another I — must be getting a little more wise — paused and considered things more deeply, and more broadly.

Maybe they were practicing being mean to each other. Maybe they were testing how one can be mean, what’s acceptable, what’s not.

And then another time, more recently, one of our kids was in a foul mood to start the day; at the same time, the other two were in particularly good moods that same morning.

My normal “modus operandi” would have been to engage, try to cheer up, not let her alone; instead, I checked in with her and when she rebuked me with silence, I let her alone. I’m finally realizing after many years of parenting, sometimes it’s best, maybe often times, to let your kids sort things out on their own if they can.

I’m sure I’ve read that in parenting books before, but the light has finally turned on and is still shining now, making it more clear how to handle some of those more challenging, difficult situations.

Later in the day that same daughter had her witch hat on and was in a markedly better mood. Miraculous. She turned it around on her own. Good lesson for me.

Let them practice their moods. Let them figure out how to cope with their emotions, and get to a better place on their own. That’s how it is for adults, that’s how it is in the world. We all would do better to think that way more often.

And sometimes putting on a witch hat helps too.

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