listen by Patty Wipfler & Tosha Schore M.A

listen by Patty Wipfler & Tosha Schore M.A

Author:Patty Wipfler & Tosha Schore, M.A. [Patty Wipfler and Tosha Schore, M.A.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Patty Wipfler and Tosha Schore, M.A.
Published: 2016-07-14T16:00:00+00:00



One day, my eight-year-old son came home from school, and was teasing and bugging his brothers, a sign that the afternoon would be difficult if I didn’t step in. I knew that he had homework, and that it was going to be a challenge to get through it. I suddenly recalled that I had developed a strategy for plowing through my homework when I was growing up. I had pushed through my fears rather than work through them. I didn’t want that for my son. I figured that vigorous play might be a great way for the two of us to reconnect after so many hours apart. I don’t always have the patience to give my son the connection he needs, but this day I did! I said, “Hey baby, do you want to have a pillow fight?” “Yes!” he blurted out, excitedly.

We got out our pillow fight kit, complete with ten pillows that we had decorated together, and went at it. The spoken rules were that there’s no hitting above the waist, and you have to stop when the other person says “Stop.” The unspoken rule was that my son always wins. He pounded me, and I threw back, often missing him. He was getting into it. “Ha! You missed me!” he’d say, and he’d throw a pillow back at me. I used just the amount of strength and accuracy it took to bring more laughter. Eventually, the game turned into him wanting me to try to hit his legs with the pillows, while he attempted to jump out of the way. This was a real confidence builder. The longer we did it, the more he laughed, and the less dis-appointed he was when I did hit his legs. Instead of jumping straight into, “That didn’t hit me!” which wasn’t, in fact, true, he started to say, “Oh, that got me,” without any overtones of, “I feel like a failure.” We did this for ten minutes or so, until I said I needed to stop and get some other stuff done. He asked for one more round of pillows, and I agreed. We then cleaned up the pillows, and went our separate ways. He went right to the table to do his homework, unprompted, which had actually never happened before!


This parent interpreted her son teasing and bugging his brothers to mean, “Hey, Mom, I’m not feeling good. I need help, and you’re the one I trust to help me out of this.” She realized that he wasn’t feeling good enough about himself to do his homework after being away all day. And she also realized she wanted her son’s homework experience to be different than hers had been as a child.

The rough play helped her son feel seen and connected to her. It also led to loads of laughter, which is a release of light fear. After this mom’s small investment of time, her son sailed through his homework.


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