A Sliding Door Moment

A favorite time of day for me is when my family has gone to bed. The children are all tucked in, I crawl into bed, and get to chose from my IMG_2902stack of great reads.

One recent evening, my 13-year old son came into our room. Just as I was settling into cozy contemplation, about to nod off, he asked “Mom can you come and lay with me while I go to sleep?”

I’d been reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, a powerful book about relationships, parenting and life.  On the pages I’d just finished reading Brene referenced John Gottman’s “sliding door” moments. The sliding door moment is when we come face to face with a choice, exactly the moment I experienced with E standing next to me.

In this moment, we have the possibility of connection or turning away.

Of course it doesn’t boil down to one moment but rather the trend established over time. Gottman says that trust erodes very slowly if we continue to turn away.

Now let’s return to my moment. I so wanted to turn back to my book and the warmth of my cozy bed. However, in front of me was a clear choice. Did I choose to connect with E, or turn away from him? What would you do?

I realized my thirteen year old son was offering me a precious moment to build trust and share affection. I pulled myself out of bed (with some effort & audible moaning, I confess), and padded down the hall after him. I’d made my choice.

Next time you have a sliding door moment and your first instinct is to turn away, take a moment to observe yourself and see what happens when you choose to connect with your child.


Notice when you say no and when you say yes to a sliding door moment.

What is a moment you are going to say yes to this week?

Share your thoughts here in the comments and pass this on to a friend.

3 Responses to A Sliding Door Moment

  1. Kristina October 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    I notice these “moments” more and more as my kids are growing older and my fear of “losing” them to adolescence grows. It helps me to to try to zoom out to the bigger picture and know that by choosing the moment with my child I will be serving myself as well. I find comfort in the knowledge that I won’t have a “parenting hangover” later on. Hard work….Thank you for bringing it to ther forefront of my thoughts for now…

  2. Marlene Mahurin October 30, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    I really love this blog. I think as our kids grow-up, it’s easy to spend less and less time with them. However, you are right: seizing those moments to cuddle and connect communicates that we are available. I work with tweens too and really try to stress that to parents. It’s all about opening the doors to communication (even when we are tired at the end of our day. 🙂

    • Lisa Fuller October 30, 2013 at 11:33 am #

      Marlene, I notice that my now teen loves to play family board games, etc. I just need to make the time and space rather than assuming he doesn’t want to join in.
      Thanks for adding your voice to this conversation!

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