Parenting is hard. Being a kid is hard. Perfection in parenting is simply not possible. Expecting perfection from kids is asking for trouble. It takes a lifetime of lessons for each of us to travel this journey and reach for a goal of raising and training “good, kind, and thoughtful people.” Often when caring adults try to encourage good behavior in their children, they realize the message given, may not be received in the manner intended.
When parents and other caregivers only care about the finished product, rather than the learning experience, it does not encourage the child to be a problem solver. If only perfectly made beds are acceptable, the child is going to get frustrated and give up because perfection is not possible.
Trial and Error-The Best Teacher
Logical and natural consequences help children learn so much more than one more lecture on how to do it “my way.” Part of being a mature responsible adult is seeing cause and effect. If you never allow them to fail, they will never learn how to succeed.
A natural consequence comes when a mistake has been made and the consequence follows in a natural way.If the soccer uniform does not get in the laundry, then the child will have to wear the stained shirt to the game. Ask them questions like “What did you learn from this experience today?” or even “Given how this turned out for you, what do you think you could do next time?”
A logical consequence is a method of parenting that involves creating a consequence or discipline that will teach a lesson and focus on the learning experiences. A logical conseqence for being late to soccer is to miss playing in the next two games. As a teaching example, the best lessons are not goal oriented but focused on the process rather than perfection.
As you help the child evaluate, plan for the next time and encourage them to problem solve on their own, you will be adding to their core of confidence. The will also gain a sense of independence when they don’t rely on others to judge their work and worth.
By stressing that failure is never final and we are all on a learning curve, you will be giving them permission to start over. Remember, your job is not to do it for them, but to teach them to do it for themselves. Focus on the learning experince, and your parenting may not be perfect, but your family life will be much happier and peaceful.
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Judy Helm Wright is a pet grief coach and family relationship mentor. Contact her today.
Motivate with Positive Words
Children want and value your attention. Before making a comment on the finished task, (for instance-making the bed) ask yourself “Will this make my child feel good about themselves?” If the answer is no, then re-frame the comment, or try to think of a small part that you can be positive about. If all your child hears from you is negative feed back, they will eventually just get frustrated.
While it’s not necessary or helpful to heap praise on every little thing, be sure to encourage their efforts. As they learn and develop new skills, make sure you notice the progress they have made. Encouraging words will give them the fuel to keep going and try again.
Raising Responsible Children may seem overwhelming to you, especially if you don’t know the way. Many times just a suggestion from another parent gives you ideas for your own family situation. The time and effort spent to help your child have positive learning experiences in your home will be an investment in the future. Believe me, it’s worth it!