Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Parenting

At church on Sunday, the lesson was on helping your kids learn. There were two really great points made that I wanted to share here, mostly so that I could remember them later.

1. Help your children be problem-solvers, instead of solve all their problems. I think our tendency is to swoop in and take care of any difficulties we see them dealing with. This appears to be a universal mom-trait. After all, we can do things faster and better (and neater!) It's harder to let a child struggle with a problem (and then clean up after) than to just handle it ourselves.

However I see more and more kids now who lack simple problem-solving skills. When I worked with the cub scouts, I almost always had kids who, when confronted with any problem, simply threw up their hands and quit. They lacked the ability to look at a situation, plan a solution and carry it through. While it doesn't matter much at the ages of 7, 8 and 9, they will be in serious trouble as they get older. I hope I can be mindful of this as I see my two kids try to deal with small problems - I need to be able to step back and let them work on their own for longer. I hope I can try and suggest solutions and help them with the process, rather than try to play Super Mom and save the day.

2. Your kids will learn something from you - make sure it's worthwhile. This was something that really struck me. In spite of all my attempts to teach them to have manners, love books, be kind to others... what are they REALLY learning from me? Even the most negligent and absentee parent is teaching their child something - and maybe that "something" isn't the best lesson in the world. The lady who made this comment went on to say that she always tried to see the good in things. It was the most important thing for her to teach her children to face life's challenges with positive thoughts and a cheerful outlook. She also went on to say that your children learn love and respect from their parents. You may be telling them to love each other, but are you then turning around and saying mean things to your spouse, even just kidding around? Kids are so literal and you're essentiall forming the basis for their future relationships now. Make sure they're good ones.

I thought these were both great comments and a helpful method for dealing with the difficulties and stress of "every day". And even when being a parent seems overwhelming and you feel like you can't get anything right, remember that your kids love you no matter what.

2 comments:

AMS said...

great thoughts! i've always thought it important to let my kids solve their own problems but still probably jump in much to quickly to clean it up.

Terry B said...

Jeri--Great post! Regarding the statement that your kids will learn something from you, I am reminded of a message Target printed on its bags around Fathers Day several years ago: "Don't worry that your kids never listen to you. Worry that they are always watching you."