We as moms, as women I think are so quick to jump when given a compliment. Let me explain what I mean. Take the example of a conversation between me and my son yesterday. I was having a rough day and felt kinda old and frumpy and was just plain down.
After hours of feeling like that, I decided I needed to pull myself together and do my best to shake off the negative feelings that surrounded me. We had a concert to go to and I didn’t want to go feeling all blah. You know how it is.
So, I put makeup on, changed out of my jeans and t-shirt and actually put jewelry on. I rarely do that anymore. And I did my hair. That usually does the trick for me and pops me out of my frumpy, dumpy mood. So here I am all dolled-up and feeling better about myself.
Compliments and our responses to them
I asked my son how I looked and his response? Well . . . (this is where the explanation comes in) in his words, “you look like you always do”.
When we get responses like that we tend to do one of two things:
- We correct our kids and use this as a teaching opportunity.
Being the mom that I am (having a child with social skills difficulties), my initial response was to teach him how to respond politely to a lady and have him respond politely with a “you look pretty” or “you look very nice”.
2. We feel bad and had hoped we looked better than that.
We take the statement as an insult when it really wasn’t meant that way. But because we don’t know how to take a compliment it immediately becomes a negative thing.
Stop after that compliment and think
But this time I did something else, I stopped and thought about it and said to myself, wait a minute! He wasn’t being insulting or hurtful. That wasn’t the intention behind his words at all.
I felt pretty all dolled-up but apparently, my kiddo thinks I look pretty all the time, hair done and makeup on or not. So what did I do? I stopped the negative thinking, I stopped feeling like I needed to correct him for something he didn’t do and I thanked him instead.
Yes, that confused him a bit but after a little explaining, I think he understood why I thanked him as he was a bit confused thinking I was upset with him.
Don’t get me wrong, I did tell him it’s much more polite to offer a compliment but I felt better about me and him. You knew I couldn’t just not take the opportunity to teach him something when an opportunity like this arises, it’s just not in me not to.