What You See -
A lovely mom and her adorable tall girl enter a Starbucks. They get into the longer than usual line. Girl goes through cold case picking out different drinks – a water bottle, a sparkling water bottle, a juice drink, a different juice drink – all while asking for a cookie. Finally, it is their turn to order. Mom pays for everything, girl gets cookie and juice, mom gets coffee and muffin. They go to sit down, girl starts getting unhappily loud, yelling “No” and sitting on the floor by the coffee bar in protest. She lets out bursts of screams as her mother takes her over to their table. Mom exchanges words with girl, who settles down and responds. Girl and mom then get back into line, and the girl gets a hot chocolate.
What did you see?
Did you just see a spoiled child getting her way?
Did you see a mom totally caving in and giving the child whatever she wanted just to get her to be quiet?
The Reality -
The reality was that the child went into that Starbucks with one thing in mind – cocoa. Which she verbalized several times along the way. The problem started when the pair were caught in a line, with all those lovely options to distract the girl on her quest for cocoa. The mom – who should have known better – thought that maybe this time, she could get away with the drink swap. She tried to rationalize with the child with the mental capacity of a spacey 3 year old.
Mom then decided to use the moment to get the girl to verbalize what she really wanted. Which was cocoa. And the girl got it – after several promptings of “Now say – Can I have cocoa please?” Mom got a “Can I ha…cocoa.” and considered it close enough, high fived the girl for good word usage and rewarded her with the thing she wanted – a cup of cocoa. Because talking in sentences is hard work for this girl.
Not to mention – the girl has no concept of the phrase “Suck it up kid.” nor of “Deal with it.” And mom really should have known better to let the girl stray from her original quest for the cocoa. And it turns out the girl was in a weird mood because she had to poop but was trying to avoid it (hey, not pooping makes everyone cranky!)
So next time your out, and you see a mom and child in a weird ballet of wills, don’t instantly assume things. There’s probably much more going on behind the scenes.