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We’re on a roll with the Family Feedback. Our eldest son has given and received his insights (read here) for the Family Feedback. We’re sitting around the dinner table and our third son is next to him.
Perfecting Family Feedback Process
(In a teensy bit of a controlling style) I turn to our second eldest son.
Mom: “What is your feedback for me?”
Purposefully, I did NOT ask, “Do you have____?” Our purpose with this discussion is to create an environment where our children voice a compliment and a concern. We’re going beyond “Yes” and “No” mutterings. (Read here for Family Feedback How To’s and free download)
Son 2: “Oh, we’re going this way? By age?”
Mom, interpreting the question as a gentle invitation to allow the kids to take the lead: “We don’t have to. Who wants to go next?”
Feedback to Mom
Son 3 pipes up, “I’ll go. Mom, you have been nice about getting special school supplies for me. Sometimes I’ve run out of _______ or needed a specific book or _______ and it meant going to a specialty store to find it. I appreciate your effort. Thanks.”
Mom smiles…lips and eyes.
Son: “And Mom, you have GOT TO BE more flexible with my going out at night. I don’t want to have to give you a fixed phone number AND address AND friends’ names AND time I come home before you let me go out.”
Older brothers: “Aaagh, we hated that too!” “Now it’s your turn!”
Mom: “Do you know why I ask for those?”
Son: “Yeah, my older brothers messed up so now you’re tough on me.”
Mom repeats: “Do you know why I ask those things?”
Son 3 grunts.
Mom: “When you give your friend’s mobile number, they don’t answer. There have been times when we found out that you boys were not where you said you were, so I like to have a number to call just in case.”
Son: “The phone number is the worst thing.”
Mom: “We had dinner with friends last night who, for sleepovers, systematically call beforehand to check that their sons are expected.”
Son 3: “Don’t do that!”
Mom: “And I ask about where they are and getting home so that you can work out public transportation and return on time. ‘I missed the last train’ is not a valid excuse for being late…”
Dad: “STOP the bickering!”
Brothers: “Yeah, work this out the two of you.”
Mom: “OK, honey. Make me a proposal for a different way to get permission to go out. Let’s talk more over something concrete.
Son 2: “My turn?”
Brothers: “Yeah, let’s move on.”
Transmiting a Vision of Thriving to Son
Mom: “You have shown us your ability to be responsible. Admittedly your teachers are writing that you are insolent in class 🙁 and lacking in maturity. Yet over this vacation and through your job (as a high school freshman, he’s tutoring a French boy in English) you have demonstrated to us your leadership skills, positive initiatives, and commitment to completing your responsibilities well. When you want to, you excel in maturity.
To Change – Have an optimistic view of you and your future.
You state these outlandish goals for yourself: king of the world! You know these are unattainable (undesirable?) and I wonder if you say these things out of lack of confidence?…I don’t know. No one expects you to reach them, so no one will consider you a failure if you don’t.
(“Pass the cheese, please,” someone requests…and we keep talking.)
What you can change is to think of how you can be a success…you choose the realm. You are WAY MORE LIKELY to fulfill your dreams one step at a time than through a miraculous leap. Break down your mega-perfectionist goals into smaller tasks…and you might even surprise yourself by how much you accomplish…and then you’ll have the courage to really dream big AND realistic.”
Mom: “You have soooo much potential, darling. You know that, don’t you?”
Son: “I know.”
Brothers: “Let’s pick up the rhythm. Next!”
No room for mommy sentimentality!
Enjoy this year’s whole Family Feedback series: