When Your Kid Thinks You Made a Mistake

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Our decisions don’t always line up with what our children believe to be the best course of action. Darren Sutton shares his story about a conflict with his son.

I have an opinion on most things – but I don’t always claim it to be the right opinion.  I consider myself a decisive person, confident in most of the choices I make – and definitely thoughtful in the big ones.

As a family, we’ve had some monumental moments in the past few years. We’ve had to make some hard decisions – ones that we knew would not provide an optimal or happy outcome. But the right ones, nonetheless.

I received an e-mail from my son this week telling me, respectfully but in no uncertain terms, that one of those choices was the wrong one. I had obviously made a mistake. And in doing so, I had misrepresented the future and derailed most of his dreams and all of his relationships.

I am so disturbed…. not because of the content of his e-mail. I understand that – totally get where he’s coming from – and in many ways, he issues some valid points.

I’m more heart broken that he felt he had to e-mail me. Really? Am I so unapproachable that my own kid had to send me a memo? Am I so explosive that he was afraid to just confront me? Am I so insistent that I’m always right that he felt he wouldn’t be heard regardless?

The sad answer is – sometimes, yes. I am. And sometimes I’m amazing. Just like you.

Our decisions don’t always line up with what our children believe to be the best course of action. Our response to their queries, their questions, their complaints, their day-to-day…that’s where decisions are lost or won. Being an approachable, level-headed, even foundation for my boys to stand on – that’s what makes my decisions winners – even if they aren’t homeruns for my kids.

Right now, I’m comforting myself with the small victory that my son trusted me enough to disagree with me – even if it was via e-mail. I responded in kind…a little e-mail back and forth never hurt anyone, right?

And I long for the day when he’ll feel stable enough – in me, in God, in our circumstances – to just speak his heart to me.  And I’ll gather his 6’2” body up in my arms that day and cry like a baby – because that’s the day my decisions won’t matter, because my demeanor did!

Written by: Darren Sutton

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