Aug 29, 2019
Sibling Rivalry: Dethronement
Story: Kitchen Assistant
When my son Jacob was feeling left out because he had a new baby brother, I made him into the kitchen assistant. Here he was, two-and-a-half-years-old, and he’s tearing up lettuce leaves and helping make a salad. The phone might ring he’d hear me say, “I can’t talk right now, I’m busy making dinner with Jacob and I’ll call you back.” This gave Jake a sense of power as an older brother helping out in the family. In a few years, Jacob became a big help with meal preparation and, eventually, he became a chef at a five-star restaurant. All from being dethroned at an early age!
Kids love to be helpful if given the chance at a young age. Give children age-appropriate opportunities to help around the house. At an early age, children want to help with the dusting, the cooking, the table setting, and the cleaning. This is the easiest and best time to teach children these skills, It is helpful to the whole family and will be helpful to them when they move out and begin life on their own.
At first, it will take a little bit longer to show them how to dry the pan, how to fold the hand towel, how to put the napkins around the table, or how to dust the coffee table, but the dividends are well worth the investment.
Take a Pause
Story: Fireman Clothes
I used to get really mad at my son because every night he was supposed to take his clothes and put them out for school the next day, He would always make a big wad of his clothes in the middle of his room. I was getting rather frustrated with him. One time I took the time to ask in a calm tone, “Why do you always bundle your clothes in the middle of the room? They get all wrinkled for the next morning for school.” My son said, “Well that’s how the firemen do it.” He had been to a firehouse and had seen how they don’t have to go looking for everything. It made me understand so much more what was going on from my child’s point of view.
For young kids, getting into their world and asking them what’s important to them is very valuable too. If you are having trouble with a certain issue, first take a pause, then ask the child with curiosity, not judgment, why they are doing such an action.
Story: Jonas Salk
Someone once asked Jonas Salk how he felt when he had so many different failures before he found the polio vaccine? What kept him going mistake after mistake? He responded that in his family when they made a mistake it was never thought of as a failure, but as another experience. He got so much joy and so much information in those “so-called” mistakes than he would have he found the vaccine right off the bat.
Story: Teenage Dilemma
I have a friend who is a father of three daughters. When they made mistakes, he didn’t punish them. When things calmed down, he would sit them down and they would talk about how they could do things differently if it was to come up again. When these girls were teenagers they’d often say to their dad, “Dad, why can’t you just be a normal dad and yell at us or ground us, or send us to our room?” He said to them. ” is there a better time to learn?”
The more mistakes your kids make living with you, the less you will worry about them when they are older. Think of a mistake as a wonderful opportunity to learn. Turn your mistakes into teachable moments not punishing moments. This is important to remember. Mistakes are not bad they are experiences. Some kids are going to need to make mistakes in order to learn.
Society sees mistakes as failures. We were brought up like that in most classrooms. You have a test of fifteen spelling words and you miss four and the teacher puts big red marks next to the four you missed. There is no celebration of the eleven words you got correct.
We are always looking for perfection. We wonder why our kids have such a hard time when they make mistakes. When we become afraid of making mistakes we are limiting ourselves to the full experience of life. I invite you to start looking at mistakes as a wonderful opportunity to learn.
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