In politics, spin doctors making a living by interpreting or twisting ambiguous information in a particular way. Parents are assigned this role by young children, whether they want it or not.
As I watched a children’s gymnastics class the other day, the occasional 3/4/5 year old would tumble off a cushion and do a big whoompfy face plant on the thickly padded mats. They would instinctively look at the parent(s), implicitly asking “What does this mean?”.
And the parents provide the spin:
In some cases “Oh God, my fragile flower, are you all right? The child then starts to cry.
In some cases “You are so funny!” The child then smiles or starts to laugh.
In some cases no words but a look of stern Tiger Mom or Tiger Dad disappointment at the failure. The child says nothing, but goes away with a mixture of shame and determination.
In some cases the parent is reading the paper or looking away and the child draws his or her own conclusions.
There are a thousand variants and they all happen in the space of a few seconds, at that moment when the meaning of reality is apparently up for grabs. The intense period of spin parenting comes early in life, because children soon learn to spin for themselves. As a parent, particularly when your children are young, you can’t not do it – it’s part of the job. You just have to be aware that its always going on and to put out spin that will help rather than hurt your child in the long run.