|Hands Offer by Elizabeth Bunsen (with permission)|
Two sentences of Empathy make a difference
My daughter was upset. She was about to go to an amusement park with friends, as part of the annual beginning of the school year treat. Suddenly she realized that I'm not joining..
"What?" she exclaimed - " I need you! I need a parent!"
I said "Yasmin! Why? You're almost thirteen and you are going with people you know and it's a closed event- what's the problem?"
"But I need you!"
"I don't think any other parents are coming and what will I do there for so many hours? None of the other kids are dragging their parents along..."
"Well I'm not the other kids!" ( I love when she says that- so true)
Tones started rising high...
"I need you Mama!"
" I didn't get a ticket because I was sure you wouldn't want me there!"
"What if something happens ?!"
And so on and so forth for a few moments. I'm at a loss and frantically begin thinking of solutions...
And then I remembered Empathy. After all, I'm teaching it...
I said: " You just really want to feel safe, don't you?"
"And you'd feel much more assured if I was there"
And that was all I said.
A few minutes later
" Mom, that's OK, you don't need to come, I'll be fine."
So simple- why didn't I think of it first?
Not as a way to get things "over with" or manipulate a situation
Just a simple offering of understanding...