I have really been trying to get some time to myself lately. For me this is waking up early before the girls get up and squeeze in some fitness and then also some reading of some sort to get my mind rolling. This has been a huge help for me since I am taking the role of staying home and keeping the hooligans safe during the day, while my wife is out hunting down the bacon.
The other day I came upon a short blog on shaming. I was shocked at all of the different applications and situations that this applies too. I was also shocked at how often things that I do could be construed as shaming. In my mind they are constructive and helpful, but in my girls minds they may not come across that way.
All day, and each day since, I have been all over myself trying to reroute how I do things to be conscious of this. The example that sticks out in my mind is the shoe dilemma we revisit every day. My 3 year old wants to put her shoes on, which is amazing. But, this typically means that we spend a decent amount of time in the shoeing process, and this can be something that can blow way out of proportion and make us late. This is a minor frustration, but very avoidable with a few minutes head start. The next hiccup is guaranteed. She always puts her shoes on backwards. My tendency of course is to tell her, and interrupt her actions with my supposed “correct” actions. This is where I was going way off.
I realized that I was rewarding her self motivated effort, which is a huge positive, with negative feedback, and telling her she did it wrong. This my friends is no bueno. We try to get our kids to think for themselves, and learn from their decisions, and then we immediately jump all over their decision making and do things for them. Well atleast this is what I had done in the past on countless occasions. Well this time was different. I simply just let go of my obsession with shoes being on the “correct” feet, and just praised her for putting her shoes on. After all if they don’t feel good on her feet, she will notice and switch them. Then we can have the conversation about which shoe goes where.
The goal is understanding and learning. Learning is best done by observation and then trial and error. That is why kids do things 100 times in a row. They practice and practice and practice. It’s ok for them to fail. We and I need to just step out of their way and let them learn. Let them tinker. Maybe watch them, and realize how we as adults lack imagination. Don’t stifle your children. Dammit don’t shame your children. If they take initiative, praise them and lead them. I found out that I unknowingly was shaming, and I was appalled at myself. But you know what, I am learning too. Consider that a different conversation. Mistakes are ok. In fact making mistakes is fantastic. It ensures that you are learning. Be open to change, it’s surely coming.