“Delight in your child! Your child learns to see themselves through your eyes.” – Sarah Rosensweet
We all want our children to make good decisions. And of course we need to overrule them if they try to ‘decide’ not to wear a seatbelt or a helmet or another health or safety issue.
What if they want to wear ballet slippers on a snowy day?
What if they don’t want to practice their violin even though they want to learn how to play?
What if they want to spend all their birthday money on trinkets at the dollar store?
What if they wait til the day before a test to start studying?
In all of these situations we COULD step in and prevent a bad outcome.
“Wear your boots or your feet will get wet.”
“It’s time to practice.”
“Save your money for something bigger or you’ll be sad later.”
“Shouldn’t you start studying now? You have a test next week.”
We have 18 years (or so!) to prepare our child to go out on their own. Guess how kids learn to make good decisions? By making decisions. NOW, when the stakes are small and they still have us as a safety net, is the time for practicing decision making.
It’s not our job to prevent our children from making bad decisions. It’s our job to be there for them when they do. We need to step back and let them learn.
To be able to step back, we need to manage our own anxiety. Yes, they might suffer a little now. But what if they leave the safety of our nests without enough practice making decisions? We’re here for them while they are learning and the stakes are low.
“Oh my goodness! Your feet are cold? Come, let’s warm them up!” Your child will wear the boots next time.
“Your teacher was upset you hadn’t practiced? Wow, that sounds tough.” If they care about their music, they will practice.
“Aw, all your money is gone now. I’m sorry, sweetie.” The pain of having nothing of value to show for their birthday money will help them save it next time.
“You got a D on the test? Oh no. What do you think happened?” The night before was clearly not enough time to study.
If we give them our empathy, not our “I told you so,” we make room for our child to learn to make good decisions because they’ve had the space to learn from their bad ones.
Sarah Rosensweet is a certified peaceful parenting coach, speaker, and educator. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three big kids (ages 13, 16, and 20). Peaceful parenting is a non-punitive, connection-based approach that uses firm limits with lots of empathy. Sarah works one-on-one virtually with parents all over the world to help them go from frustrated and overwhelmed to, “We’ve got this!”
Read more at: www.sarahrosensweet.com