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So What You Saying?
A few days ago I took my son to the barbershop for his regular haircut. But, this time we both left with a bit more.
You see, in the middle of getting his hair cut my son leaped out of the barber chair. He was mad because he got hair on his face and refused to finish getting his hair cut. I scolded him. I told him that he was too big to cry about something so small when all he had to do was wipe his face off.
His response, “You’re a crybaby. My daddy always says bad words to you and then you cry. I can hear you crying in my bed.”
I was shocked, embarrassed even. I didn’t even know how to react other than to give him a stern, “Be quite, right now.” Luckily, he listened and the tantrum came to an end. While the barbers in the shop applauded me for reacting to my sons miniature tantrum by talking to him verses “whooping his ass” all I could think of was what he said.
It’s been almost a year since my relationship with his father ended and it only lasted a few months to begin with. It’s been months since we’ve even had an argument that resulted in me crying. But still, my son remembers. He never mentions the good times we shared as a family but this… he remembered and he taunted me with my own painful memories.
It hurt me to know that those are the experiences my son remembers about my relationship with his father. It hurts me to think about how he must have felt and what he must have thought as he listened to us argue. It made me think about my childhood and the misconstrued perception of love I developed from watching the toxic relationship of my parents play out for so many years.
It hurt. But, it helped both of us more in the end.
When my son made that comment it showed me that the notion that children hear, see and understand more than we think isn’t just a notion at all… it’s a fact. As a parent I have to remind myself daily with everything I do that he’s watching, observing and learning from my experiences. How I allow myself to be treated in a relationship will set the standard for not only how he allows himself to be treated but how he treats others…especially women.
His comment gave me an opportunity. So when we left the barbershop instead of disciplining my son for his tantrum and disrespect, I talked to him. I talked to my son about the acceptable and unacceptable ways to treat people. I talked to my son about how he felt when his father said bad words and made me cry. I explained to him how it made me feel and why people who love each other don’t treat each other that way.
After that conversation my son apologized. We shared a big hug and kiss and went on with our day. I just hope going forward that it’s conversations like these and healthier relationship choices from myself that shape his perception on love and relationships as a man.
Photo Credits: psychologybenefits.org, bet.com