My last post brought me some commentary. Not in the comments following a post but in face to face interaction. Though I love talking to people, especially about things I see as important, like raising healthy children, I do wish people would post comments more on this blog to start the conversation here for everybody. Most of what I heard was in agreement. The problem that still stems is that most of us don’t see ourselves as trying to control our kids. It’s those other whack-job parents that are crazy; we’re all right. However, I confess that I am a controller. (Those that know me are thinking: “What? You?” and snickering). I will admit that I attempt to control my kids but not their experiences. I want them to be respectful, intelligent, open and brave, and I encourage those experiences but I also want them to feel pain, failure and loss to an extent. That is easy to say here on a post, but difficult to actually allow. As a caretaker of many many children, I want to make a child’s fears go away. I want to show them that they can win, regardless of the circumstance. But often it turns into me just “doing it” to be sure it’s “right”. (Thanks Mom for that genetic hand off). But I am learning, and practicing, and failing, all to learn and make it better. I will give me that much.
I am trying to change the way that I parent (sorry Mom) and it’s because I know cognitively what is right. But I have trouble being hands off when my kids may experience (speaking generically) pain. How many of us have changed how we do things as a parent over the years? I bet every parent has experienced a learning moment after a failure of parenting. The world is always changing. There is value in our kids seeing us make mistakes and admitting that we did something wrong and then letting them know that we will strive to be better. We teach our children by modelling. In fact, when we try to be a great parent, and fail, it becomes a learning experience for the children as well as for us...if we allow it to be. We will make mistakes, it’s OK. Lesson 1 is that we try again and we will get better. Lesson 2 is that there are many ways to do something, and lesson 3 is that if one doesn’t work, or has negative consequence, then we should try another way. These are 3 simple lessons that we can show kids through our own struggle to get this parenting thing right. It is simple problem solving and kids need to learn that too. When our children begin solving their issues by themselves we should reward and praise them even if the solution is not what we would do in their shoes. We don’t wear their shoes, and if we do we other issues to worry about. We should let them see that sometimes it works and sometimes…not so much, but by allowing our kids to resolve things, just like we try to do, they become confident in attempts to control their own outcomes and this is a very positive result of our trust. Yes? Yes.