A New Stretch This Mom Can Do
I know how to stretch. I’m physically flexible, and financially, too. I can stretch a dollar. I can also take what’s left over from a meal and stretch it into at least one more creative dinner.
I can stretch my time to include all the important things on my list and still have enough to spare. And I’ve finally learned how to stretch what I eat throughout the day, but in smaller amounts, so I won’t stretch out my waistband.
Still, I didn’t know all the stretches moms do—until an episode of teen angst stretched my patience. That’s not an easy one to encounter, especially before the sunrise.
My husband knows how to do it, though. After I flopped about, I asked him how I could manage both the correction of behavior and the teaching moment it invites.
He taught me to stretch it out.
What he meant is that, yes, the behavior needs to be corrected. And yes, the experience invites an opportunity to teach or reteach. But, he said, if you do both at the same time, she’s just going to dig in her heels and not hear any of it.
Instead, he said, correct the behavior in a matter-of-fact way. And I add, don’t drag it out or pile it on to get every available word into that moment.
Then, he said, when the child comes around later that day—say, for a good night kiss—take the teaching moment. And I add, inevitably my tone of voice will have had time to cool, and she won’t become bloated from all the words I could have already said.
Smart man. Even smarter parent.