Sound psychological advice goes awry

Here’s a recent piece of advice from my therapist:

When you’re talking to your kids about something they’ve done wrong, make sure to finish the conversation by saying something positive about them.’

I decided to put that advice to use today, and here’s how that went down…

Evan called a friend a name.  I scolded him and made him apologize.  I wasn’t angry, I was just making sure he doesn’t grow up to be a degenerate.  But why settle for an apology?  How about going the next step and making this a golden parenting moment?  I called him back.

Me:  ‘Hey, you know we don’t call people mean names, right?’

E:  ‘Yeah.’

Me:  “Well, you know something that I like about you?’  I gave him a playful little poke and a sly look.  ‘You’re silly.’

Upon hearing this, Evan threw down the toy in his hand and burst into loud sobs.


I tried to calm him down.  I explained that to be ‘silly’ meant to be fun and energetic, like when he was entertaining us all at the pool by doing pratfalls into the water.  No dice.  The crocodile tears continued.  Again, I wasn’t angry, now I was just baffled.  Wow, this was not how this was supposed to go…  Eventually, I said:  ‘Well, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, so you can get over it or go someplace else if you want to keep crying.’  And I turned back to my ironing.

Yup.  Golden.


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