Terese Bradshaw, a Certified Positive Discipline Trainer and Montessori teacher, shares a scary Halloween story that will be an inspiration to every parent who is delusional about the possibility of being a perfect parent—even a Perfect Positive Discipline parent. We all make mistakes, even when we know better. Fortunately, our mistakes provide an opportunity to go back to our Positive Discipline tools to clean up the mess we have made—and to model for our children (over and over). that “mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn.”
On a blustery, cold Halloween night, a wicked witch fretted in her brand new house. She had just re-married, blended her little goblins, and moved her in-home preschool to their new location. She was overwhelmed and cranky (nearly flipped lid), but still wanted to create the "Perfect Halloween" for her children.
Dinner was done, and her little goblins were putting on their homemade costumes to go out and spook the neighborhood, when the witch (who was usually quite kind) noticed bright blue theatrical make-up on the stairs of her brand new white carpet. (No one knows why this crazy Mother Witch of 4 little ones decided to put expensive white carpet throughout HER whole house.)
The lovely witch followed the trail of shimmering blue make-up up the stairs, down the hall, and into the master bedroom and bath where her little darlings were making faces in the mirror and squealing with delight at how scary they looked in their costumes and made-up faces—until they saw the contorted look of horror on the mother Witch's face (fully flipped lid).
Their joy suddenly turned to sheer terror (mirror neurons at work) as their once friendly Mother Witch turned on them. She started screaming at the top of her lungs "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?! (Blame!) YOU'VE RUINED OUR BEAUTIFUL HOME!! (Priorities?) AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO CARES ABOUT HAVING A DECENT PLACE TO LIVE!?! (Not really a Curiosity Question.) DO YOU WANT TO LIVE IN A PIGSTY ALL YOUR LIVES!?! (Shame.) YOU DON'T DESERVE TO GO TRICK-OR-TREATING!! (Punishment) GET OUT OF HERE!! (Abandonment.) YOU CAN JUST GO OUT TRICK-OR-TREATING BY YOURSELVES. The wicked witch was out-of-control!
After she chased them down the stairs, she saw more of the ugly blue stain on her living room and dining room carpets!! She screeched some more hurtful things at the innocents and pointed her bony finger towards the door. (Not a very respectful way of using NON-VERBAL SIGNALS.) The little children and their friend (humiliation) cried in fear and ran out of the house—to the streets of a brand new neighborhood where they had only lived one week.
A few minutes later the wicked witch realized what she had done and felt great remorse and shock at the way she had treated her little children who just wanted to BELONG. She jumped on her broomstick (a big Suburban) and raced down the street trying to find them. Ahhh . . . Great Relief! There they were—safe on the sidewalk. Whew, they had not been kidnapped!
She raced the car towards them. The youngest one, with the telltale blue make-up still stuck to the bottom of her shoe, ran in fear and jumped into the nearest bushes. The witch ran to embrace her child and offer a heartfelt apology. The little one cried in fear. She thought sure her mother was going to run her down with the car. (The witch forgot how important timing is before apologizing)
After many tears and hugs, the Not-So-Wicked Witch took responsibility for what she had done. She shared with them what she had learned from this experience, and what she would do differently next time she was that stressed. (5 Rs of Recovery.) She let them know that they were more important than a few stains on the carpet— and it could be cleaned up, anyway.
Fortunately, her loving children were amazingly forgiving and eventually recovered from their harrowing ordeal with the Wicked Witch of the West. However, to this day, none of the girls will wear Halloween make-up.
Terese Bradshaw, Certified Positive Discipline Ttrainer (formerly known as the Wicked Witch of the West—now loving Mother (most of the time)