“Mom, I lost my jacket,” my almost 12 year old son told me.

“What? Grandma just gave that to you last week,” I accusingly replied.  “Where did you last wear it?  Have you looked in your room?” “How could you have lost it?”  I ranted on.

Then I caught myself.  Whose problem is this?  What happened to my empathy?  I tried to recover my Love and Logic senses and said,  “So that’s pretty sad – losing your jacket so soon.  What are you going to do about it?”  But it was too late, my son had switched off his thinking mode since I had clearly taken over. He simply replied, “Nothing.”

I reflected on my missed opportunity.  I could have used empathy and hugged my son with a big “This is so sad, you loved that jacket from Grandma. I could have helped him solve his own problem by asking, “What are you going to do about it?”  Then we could have grabbed a hot cup of cocoa and brainstormed together ideas for him to look for his jacket.  We could have had a special mother-son bonding time working together to solve his problem.

So instead of beating myself up, I decided that in parenting, if we take the time to reflect on our mistakes, we are more prepared for the next time – and in parenting, there are lots of next times! And, since he did find his jacket, he’ll probably misplace it again and this time I’ll be ready for it.