Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bad parenting decision #121

The time had come, as it does in every good puppy-parent’s life, to take our dog to the vet to be “fixed.” A few weeks prior, I hinted to my daughter that Dasher would soon need a procedure that would help him want to stay close to home. I figured that might be the best explanation for a four-year-old, not ready to explain that puppies get frisky and make more puppies, who can’t find homes and have to be euthanized.

My daughter had been to the vet before, and took obvious pride in acting as caregiver, never seeming concerned herself, but rather playing the comforter to her little puppy. So the night before taking him for his procedure, I decided to give her a little more information. Not on the “whys” so much as the “what to expect,” concerned that it would be too shocking for her to come home without any warning to find her puppy lethargic, stitched and wearing a cone.

Thus the bad decision.

Lying in bed with her, I told her that Dasher was going to the vet for a little procedure that all puppies have. That he might be a little tired when we pick him up and that he would need to wear a cone on his head for awhile. I tried to be nonchalant. I tried not to be dramatic. But it was still the wrong thing to do.

I’m not sure which part of the information was disturbing. I think it may have been the cone, her not having anything to relate that to. Her first reaction was defiance. “No!” she said. “I said no!” as though she had a choice in the matter. Then her anger turned to tears.

As I walked out of her room, I confessed to her father “Bad parenting decision # 121.” “Maybe you shouldn’t have told her anything,” he said. “Ya think?” I replied defensively.

She cried herself to sleep as I considered all the poor parenting decisions that lay before me. My intentions were good. And I know that it could have easily gone the other way and my initial concerns could have been realized. But I see now that scenario would have been less disturbing because she could see before her that he was okay vs. imagining her puppy coming home compromised.

So lesson learned. Maybe. Unfortunately, you rarely get the same test twice and the answer only comes after you’ve taken it.

Tell me I’m not the only mom out there guilty of giving your child too much information. What lessons have you learned?

Amy McCall is a Marketing Manager for Texas Health Resources and Mom to a four-year-old daughter.

1 comment:

  1. Damage control: let the child know that the procedure will make the puppy happier and will allow the puppy to live longer.