How could you not notice this young couple, they were picture perfect. And then, there was their baby, sitting in her darling outfit with the latest and greatest stroller, diaper bag and toys.
Mom was showing her little daughter cute little baby Gap outfits one after another cooing, “Don’t you like this one…. what about this one?”
The one-year-old darling was more interested in her toy. She squawked as it hit the ground. Mom dutifully bent down and picked it up, handing it back to her. Mom went back to her shopping. Dad was standing by (probably thinking about the Chargers game he was missing.)
Baby threw the toy again, mom picked up the toy again. “Stop throwing your toys on the ground,” Mom said as she quickly turned back to the 18 month and 2-T rack. There went the toy sailing by her face. “KEEP the toy IN the stroller,” she said as she was getting distracted with her shopping. Again, down goes the toy. “If you throw that toy again, I will not buy you any clothes!” mom says through clench teeth and not so gently squeezes the toy in the baby’s hand.
When the baby protests,
dad looks over and says to mom,
“You don’t have to be so rough with her.”
“She keeps throwing her toy on the ground!” Mom screeches.
“Calm down, it’s only a toy.” He says with parental wisdom.
“Only a toy, YOU deal with her then.” Mom says as she storms off towards the sale racks.
“What is your problem?” Dad masks his irritation through a forced smile.
“You are my problem. I want to go home right now.”
“No way, after you nagged me all morning to take you to the mall and we haven’t had lunch yet.”
“You are such an idiot!” was her parting shot as she storms out of the Baby Gap.
Dad looks with wide eyes of bewilderment down at his daughter. “Don’t ever grow up,” he whispers as the toy hits him on the head.
- Will Dad get lunch?
- Will Mom talk to Dad for the rest of the day?
- Will baby get new clothes?
- Will the parenting styles continue to affect their marriage?
Lets apply one of the effective skills in this situation for different results.
Baby throws the toy. Mom looks down and smiles. “I would be happy to let you play with your toy if it stays in the stroller with you.”
The toy goes down. Mom looks over empathetically and says, “Oh, that is so sad that you chose to throw the toy on the ground,” as she slips it into her purse. Baby is wide-eyed with astonishment.
Mom is not stressed or frustrated. She feels in control.
Dad smiles lovingly and encouragingly at Mom because he knows she is teaching their daughter limits and self-control.
Their eyes meet. “Lets go home,” mom says with a wink.
Dad eagerly agrees.