Adaptive Parenting

Adaptive Parenting

I remember going grocery shopping with my mother when I was about four years old. She purchased a blueberry pie, my sister’s favorite, for dessert that evening. As she was unloading the bags from the car, she dropped the pie, causing it to break into several messy pieces. All I could do was imagine my sister’s severe disappointment.

But not my mother. She took the box into the kitchen, scooped the contents into parfait glasses, and squirted whipped cream swirls between the layers. Later, when we finished dinner and my sister asked what was for dessert, my mother replied, “A special treat…blueberry mish-mosh pie!”Instead of being disappointed, my sister was delighted. And blueberry mish-mosh pie promptly replaced regular blueberry pie as her number one choice. I still laugh every time I think of my mother subsequently purchasing blueberry pies and promptly smashing them on the floor, explaining to the shocked grocery clerks that she was making her daughter’s favorite dessert.

There’s an old Yiddish proverb that can be paraphrased as, “Parents plan and God laughs.” Things will not always go the way you intended them to go and your children wanted them to go. But rather than wallowing in guilt and watching them be chagrined, be prepared to adapt. The fact is that things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.

Dr. Mike

Michael K. Meyerhoff, Ed.D. (a.k.a. “Dr. Mike”) is a member of the management team at Romp n’ Roll. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University, he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in human development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also held a position as a researcher with the Harvard Preschool Project. He may be contacted via e-mail at