A lesson in a stuck zipper – a metaphor for parenting

Friday, July 1, 2011

The zipper of one of my winter boots got stuck. I pulled and tugged at it and eventually just wore it half done up under jeans, it stayed on and I figured that no-one else would know so it did not matter.

Everytime, I wanted to wear these boots I would remember the zipper was stuck and would try to get it unstuck. I would jiggle it, tug at it, attempt to pull it up and down - to no avail. I wore it stuck like this for a couple of weeks. I knew material had got stuck in the side of the zipper and most times I was in a rush and could not deal with it and would just wear it half done up and think I’ll do something about it later.

Finally, one morning I had to wear these boots and could not wear them under jeans. I had to take some time and concentrated on finding out exactly what was wrong, I found the piece of material that was stuck and manipulated the zip and material in just the right way. The material was free and I was able to move the zip up and down with ease. It works perfectly now.

This made me think about parenting and child behaviour. Sometimes we get stuck as parents, we may notice behaviour that is not appropriate or difficult to manage. There may be behaviour that has been going on a while and we feel as though we’re dealing with it by noticing it, rewarding it or punishing it. We just don’t have the time to examine it carefully and look for the underlying cause. Sometimes we let things go on and it’s not until it stands out so much or someone else notices and comments that we are moved to action. It’s easy sometimes to leave things alone but a relief when we sort things out.


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