I had to apologize to The Narrator the other day. I got mad at him and reprimanded him for what turned out to be something of my own doing.
I had the boys in the car and they asked for the radio. I turned on a local rock station. One of The Narrator’s favorite games when we turn the radio on is to start screaming that its too loud. He’ll plug his ears and just start screaming. It doesn’t legitimately bother him, he’s just fooling around, but yells and screams are some of the most common sounds that kids make, and I don’t find it nearly as funny as he does, and it can get on my nerves when done without provocation, or goes on for a protracted period of time.
On this particular day, as soon as he started screaming, I turned to him and said “Stop your screaming, or I’ll turn it up louder so I don’t have to listen to you!” -What I meant and SHOULD have said was…”Please stop screaming.”
A mere moment later, he screamed again and I got angry and yelled at him. When I asked him why he’d screamed again immediately after I asked him to stop, he looked at me with a sad little face and said “I wanted it louder.”
BOOM- I was a jerk. Just like that. He’d interpreted what I had SAID as “If you want it louder, yell again.” Because, literally, that’s what I told him. I didn’t ask him not to scream again. I mean, I did, but I didn’t say it in a manner that made sense to a six year old.
So there I was, yelling at him for doing exactly what I had told him to do.
By this time we were out of the car, and I had to pull him close and apologize to him for yelling at him. I couldn’t be mad at him for doing what I told him to do, the only person I had any right to be annoyed with was myself for what is a significant parenting failure that is rudimentary, and I should be past by now.
Like I said when I started this blog, being a parent isn’t easy. The hardest part sometimes is realizing when WE’VE made the error, not the child. Kids are kids, and their ability to recognize implied meaning simply isn’t there. The onus on this little boo-boo was all me. For having a short temper in the first place, and failing to remember that he’s not an adult, and therefore lacks the capacity to interpret the difference between what I said, and what I’d meant.
Thankfully, kids have a short memory too- so while I still feel terribly about this little incident, He’s likely already forgotten it’s happened.