Monthly Musing – November 2017 – Feeling the Cold

“I don’t need my coat,” small daughter assured me, “I’m not cold.” It was early in the morning, there was frost on the ground and she was on her way to school. Of course, this was my cue to launch into full Mum mode:

“It’s freezing!”

“Look at the thermometer, you can see how cold it is!”

“You’re going to make yourself ill” (this one’s not strictly true as you can’t catch a cold from being cold but I always like to throw this one in)

“Everyone else will have a coat on” (usually, “everyone” is the reason for anything happening – “everyone” has got the latest whatever it is, “everyone” else is going, “everyone will look at me” so it’s often a good as a last resort)

“Don’t worry about me,” she said, breezing out of the door, “I don’t feel the cold.”

As I get older, I am slowly learning that there are times that you can tell someone something till you’re blue in the face and they still won’t listen. It’s as if you become invisible white noise in the background. We’ve all been on both sides of that one, closing our ears when it suits us and doing our best to relentlessly hammer home the point on other occasions, frustrated with ourselves and the other person as our words fall on deaf ears.

It’s not easy, especially as I am naturally inclined to want to be helpful, but I am getting better at offering the advice (and I am doing my best these days to wait until I’m asked for it!) and then leaving the other person to get on with it – or not, as the case may be. Sometimes we just like to ask for advice to clarify our own thinking, not because we’re really unsure of what to do, and in those moments it doesn’t really matter what the advice is because it either fits with our own view or it doesn’t. Sometimes we like to canvass several opinions on different occasions before making any moves, sudden or otherwise. There is generally little point in going over and over the same ground; we all like to make our own decisions, and often the more we are pushed the less likely we are to do something (certain salespeople excepted, sadly). As the person offering the advice, you just have to give it and then step away, as if the words are a gift that now belongs to someone else for them to do with what they will.

In small daughter’s case, I knew that she’d discover soon enough that it really is the weather to be wearing a coat and she does feel the cold more than she thinks. By working it out for herself, she’s much more likely to do whatever it is that has been suggested without any screeching on my part involved at all which can only be a good thing for all concerned.

Sure enough, later that same evening as we were going out, she picked up her coat before I could even mention it.

“What? Did you think I wouldn’t be taking my coat? Don’t be daft, Mum, everyone else will be wearing one!”

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7 Responses

  1. Farender gal says:

    Hi Christine, love this post as this is a battle I seem to have most days with my teenage son. However it must h

  2. Sheila says:

    So true…Enjoyed reading!

  3. Caroline says:

    Were you in our hall this morning Christine?!

  4. Julie says:

    Oh to be a parent …and it doesn't get any easier when they are 32 and still live at home!

  5. Heidijo says:

    I remember carrying a coat for teen son when we went to watch Premier league rugby, he said don't both I won't need it, 10mins after sitting down and feeling nice and warm with a coat over my lap a hand came sideways and pulled if off !!! Mum did know best!

  6. selina says:

    been there done that
    they've all left the nest now
    enjoy it while it lasts
    thanx for sharing

  7. Unknown says:

    Soo good to read, Christine. I couldn't agree more.

    With my daughter it was different, though. Strangely, she really didn't need a coat, she seemed to have an invisible oven inside. I battled for a very long time not to interfere when I watched her playing outside in the cold with a glooming red face and frozen-looking fingers, all the while she was totally happy and definitely not cold at all. She never had a cold and was the healthiest child one could think of.
    With her I learnt very efficiently not to judge others by my own opinions. – Which hasn't been such a bad lesson, after all.

    It's fun to be a parent sometimes, isn't it? :)))

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