Parenting Page: It Takes a Village – Of Perspectives
This is a parenting page, about parenting Page. I am a child psychologist and a mother. So I specialize in children, yet I am human, thus I am full of knowledge and yet as full of emotions as any other parent. So I decided to write this Parenting Page since it might be informative and funny for others to take an insider look at a child specialist raising her child. I also wanted to create a way to show Page when she grows up, if she chooses to have children, a real-life view of the experience.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE – OF PERSPECTIVES
One year, Page broke her arm in two places a few days before Thanksgiving. One break was pretty bad, the other minor; she was in a lot of pain for over 24 hours until the pain medication was stabilized. At Thanksgiving dinner my sister asked me how Page had broken her arm, and I told her I didn’t know yet. I had asked Page but she refused to tell me. I explained I was pretty sure she was just too traumatized by the experience to talk about it yet. My sister, a school teacher, laughed at me. She said, “She isn’t too traumatized to talk! She was using those monkey bars in a way they shouldn’t be used and doesn’t want to tell you!”
Psychologist perspective… trauma.
Teacher perspective… behavior.
I asked Page into the room and asked her again how she fell off the monkey bars, and told her she wouldn’t be in any trouble if she had been doing something she wasn’t supposed to. (I figured even if she was misbehaving, breaking her arm was a pretty severe natural consequence of her behavior, hence she didn’t need any additional consequence from me.)
She explained she was doing the ‘bird’s nest’ … don’t Google it, we tried, apparently it’s a local phenomenon that never made it from elementary school to Internet fame. As you might have guessed it involved being on top of the monkey bars to start and not using them in the manner in which they were intended. I was later told by the other children it’s a move that requires skill and bravery, and had I seen her complete it as she had before without breaking her arm, I would have been quite impressed. I’m fairly sure it impresses kids and that I would have told her to get her butt down before she falls and breaks something.
Kid perspective… super-cool fun activity.
Mom perspective… dangerous activity.
I find paying attention to a village of perspectives helps me understand my child (and probably everyone) better. It helped me see Page was doing something she shouldn‘t have been doing… but only because it was super-cool.
Dr. Tina Lepage is the owner of Lepage Associates Solution-Based Psychological & Psychiatric Services, a group practice in S. Durham/RTP. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. www.lepageassociates.com. You can find her on Twitter at @LepageAssoc or at Facebook.com/LepageAssociates.