Saturday, August 13, 2011

Things I Want To Teach My Kids {Part II} by Bloom Guest Steph

A few months ago we introduced you to Steph of Modern Parents Messy Kids and shared the first half of a list of things she wants to teach her kids. Today we're sharing the second half of that list. Check it out and tell us what you're trying to teach your kids...

7. All Feelings Are OK
Have you heard of emotional coaching? It’s basically a parenting style that focuses on teaching children how to recognize and express their feelings. When I was a young child, I was very shy and fearful. To this day I’m not really sure why (my family was very supportive, open, and loving) but I do know that I want to do everything I can to prevent my own kids from feeling that way.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to change anyone’s personality or create super outgoing kids. It’s only been in the last 10 years or so that I’ve really come out of my own shell so if my kids turn out to be introverts, that’s fine by me. I just want to make sure they’re not missing out on life experiences due to fear.
A few months ago we introduced you to Steph of Modern Parents Messy Kids and shared the first half of a list of things she wants to teach her kids. Today we're sharing the second half of that list. Check it out and tell us what you're trying to teach your kids...

We’ve been weaving emotional coaching into our everyday life for the past year or so now and are pretty amazed by the results. Our 2 year old regularly identifies himself as being happy, sad, mad, and scared. Having this awareness seems to help him work through new and scary situations as well as tantrums. You can find out more about emotional coaching here.

8. I’m Worthy of Their Trust
From stranger danger and bullying to drugs and sex - I can think of about a million reasons I want my kids to trust me enough to talk to me. For me, building that trust now is about always doing my best to be as truthful as possible. Of course there are a lot of topics that I don’t particularly want to talk at length about with my 1 and 2 year olds. But if they ask me about something I try to answer them simply and directly (and then move on if it’s something I really don’t want to talk about yet!).

I also try really hard not to lie to them about the little things. It’s often tempting to head off an impending tantrum with a seemingly innocent lie, “We can’t get ice cream because the store’s closed”. The problem is kids catch on quick. If you get in the habit of fibbing to make things a little easier not only will the kids know, they’ll have less trust in you and what you say.

9. Mistakes are OK
This one goes back to my childhood again. As a shy kid I was always mortified when I messed up. I actually have a vivid memory of hiding under my covers as a preschooler after breaking a glass bowl I was using as a drum. When my parents found me they laughed but for some reason I was convinced I’d be in big trouble.

To teach my own kids that mistakes are OK, I make sure to let them know whenever I make one. It seems like several times a week I’ll spill something or forget something in front of them. When I do I always say something like, “Uh oh, Mommy spilled. Oh well, everybody makes mistakes”. This shows them that mistakes are just a part of life and they don’t have to be scared or embarrassed about messing up.

10. If at First You Don’t Succeed...
This goes hand in had with “mistakes are OK”. Giving your child permission to make mistakes gives them the confidence to keep trying when they’re confronted with adversity. Not everything in life is going to be easy. It’s our job as parents to let kids know that success isn’t about being perfect, it’s about continuing to try. (Side Note: For some excellent reading on this topic see the chapter “The Inverse Power of Praise” from the book Nurture Shock).

11. Saying No is OK
Last year my son’s toddler group hosted an excellent speaker on family safety, specifically protecting children from predators. Along with the usual tips about stranger danger, she also emphasized the importance of allowing children to say no. This applies to everyday situations as well as immanent danger.

She talked about teaching kids that they don’t always have to be polite. They don’t have to give hugs and kisses to anyone they don’t want to (family included) and they can always say no if an adult makes them feel uncomfortable. Her message of teaching kids to trust their gut, even at a very early age, really resonated with me.

In addition to being able to say no for safety, I also want to teach my kids not to be pleasers in general. As adults, we all know people like this. They regularly bend over backwards and over-commit themselves because they hate to disappoint. In reality we can’t do everything for everyone or even be friends with everyone. Somehow (and I’m not quite sure how) I want to show my kids that life is shaped by the people and activities you fill it with. It’s your responsibility to make sure you fill it up with positive and reciprocal relationships.

12. To Be Kind
This, of course, is the flip side of saying no. In a society where high self-esteem is regarded above all else, basic kindness can sometimes get overlooked. This one is all about walking the walk. You can tell your kids to be nice all day long but they’ll truly get the message when they see how you interact with people throughout your day together. Be courteous and friendly towards friends, neighbors, family, waiters, sales clerks, baristas, and families at the park. Smile and say “hi”, open doors for people, and let cars in your lane. Your kids will see your example as well as the positive reactions you get in return.

2 comments:

Kimberly said...

I'm so glad you mentioned Nurture Shock. That is a GREAT book.

Love your list!

4rx coupons said...

I’m not trying to change anyone’s personality or create super outgoing kids.