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“We Were Wrong, Man”

Somewhere in the world, a Circle of Security Parenting class met recently. There were seven people. Most people had never met before and the class was pretty quiet in the beginning. Looking around the room, it didn’t seem like they had much in common.  

The facilitator knew that some parents had been referred by social services, some where there because of custody issues, some due to addiction issues and some found the class on their own. There were fathers, mothers, grandparents and stepparents. There was a wide range of formal education, income, ages of children, races and political beliefs.

The parents did have something in common, though: a commitment to their children. Each of them knew that they struggled with parenting in some way and they wanted their relationship with their child to be better. They were willing to give up their time and money to come to a class where they didn’t know anyone else. They were willing to be uncomfortable, to be vulnerable, to be open to learning…. All for their child.

As the class progressed, they each shared a bit more about their own lives. Things they struggled with, things they succeeded with, attempts that failed, attempts that worked. Conversations came easier but still everyone was a bit guarded.

The week came to discuss “Rupture and Repair”. Two of the fathers, in particular, seemed to struggle with the idea of doing a “Time In” with their children.

One father said to the facilitator, “When I was growing up, the choice was a belt or a switch. I get that that’s bad for kids. I know what it’s done to me. But now you are telling me that I can’t even put my kid in a time out? I can’t tell her to go to the corner and she can come out when she’s stopped throwing her fit? I’m supposed to just let her come and cry all over me? What is that going to teach her, huh?”

Before the facilitator could respond, another dad began to talk: 

“You know, man, I’m right there with you.

My parents were so rough with us that I don’t even like to be touched by people.

But what I’m figuring out here is… that this is what our kids need.

This is what we needed.

Hugs and love and hanging out.

Letting them feel things that I thought we were supposed to hide.

What I’m realizing here is….. we were wrong, man.

We were wrong.”

The class was very quiet and a few people had tears in their eyes. 

The first dad shook his head a little and after a moment, said, “Yeah, I think maybe you’re right. I still don’t get it and I’m not sure I want to, but I see what you’re saying.”

There wasn’t much the facilitator had to say. Both fathers had said it all.