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Can you help me find fill-in-the-blank? Where’d fill-in-the-blank go? I can’t do it, you do it! I’m bored! There’s nothing to do! Sound familiar? This is part 2 of the parenting advice series. Here are 5 things I will NOT do for my children, and you shouldn’t either!
Don’t get me wrong.
There is so much I do for my children and will do for my children. Read about that in Part 1 of the series.
But for my children to succeed in life, there’s a lot I can’t do for my children to allow them to grow and become independent teenagers and adults.
There are so many teenagers that I’ve come across that are flat out rude individuals who feel the world owes them everything. Don’t tell me you haven’t come across a teenager/young adult/or grown adult like that or heard a story!
I am bound and determined that my children won’t become one of these teenagers/young adults/or grown adults and here’s how I’m going to do it.
Learn 5 things I will NOT do for my children and why you shouldn’t either based on my all time favorite book about children.
Before you just “take my word” for this book. Let me tell you why I so strongly recommend it. I’ve read a lot of parenting/children books throughout my college career (Undergrad-Child Psychology, master’s program-Marriage and Family Therapy)
This book was assigned to us in one of my intro courses to Adlerian therapy during my master’s program. I didn’t have kids at the time but worked with kids with emotional and behavioral disorders.
This book stuck with me! It is written in a way that is easy for anybody to read, and provides examples of children’s behavior that will have you nodding along and agreeing with what is said.
Here is the book I so highly recommend, “Children the Challenge” by Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs.
On to the parenting advice…
5 things I will NOT do for my Children
1. Find things for them.
“Never do for a child what he can do for himself.” ~Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs
Oh, I love this quote. My children are blessed with eyes that work. They both can process what they’re seeing. My oldest has come to me so many times asking “Where’s my toy?”, “Where’re my glasses?”, “Where’s my fill-in-the-blank?”
I already get enough of this question from my husband, I don’t need it from my child too. I am bound and determined to teach him to look first, use that smart little brain of his to process through, where he last saw the item or put it down.
If he can’t find an item, I will absolutely help him out, because quite frankly, there are times, I can’t find items either! But if he’s sitting on the couch, asking “Where are my shoes?” and aren’t even looking for them! That’s when I will not be helping.
I will not be doing something for him that he is fully capable of doing himself and neither should you with your children. Let your children use their smarts to problem solve and process through a simple task they can complete on their own!
2. Redo something they did.
This is such a big piece of advice I will always try to follow! Especially with crafts! We sit down and have craft time a lot! This time becomes difficult for my personality. I like things done a certain way, and if they aren’t done my way, it doesn’t look right to me.
But one thing I have learned from all my schooling and working with children is that the quickest way to say without actually saying, “I can do this better than you so your effort doesn’t matter” is redoing something a child has already done.
That piece of construction paper that is turned at a weird angle, or the foot that’s not in the right place, don’t fix it! It’s so tempting to fix one little thing, but it’s showing the child that they can’t do it right, so you need to step in and fix it.
When my son was learning how to cut with scissors. It was so hard for me to step back and let him do it! And this example actually brings me directly to my next point.
3. Interrupt what they’re doing to do it better/faster
As big of a hurry, I feel I’m in. I let my child zip up his coat, put on his backpack, and put on his shoes. If he asks for help, I’ll gladly help him, but I’m not going to zip up his coat for him because he’s taking too long.
“Parental love is best demonstrated through constant encouragement toward independence” ~Rudolf Dreikurs
By interrupting what a child is doing just to do it faster or better, only discourages the child and makes them think, they can’t get it right.
I have to stop myself many times and think, “does it really matter if he takes an extra 30 seconds?”
4. Say they can’t do something because they’re too fill-in-the-blank
“Can I help?” We get that a lot in our house from our 4-year-old, especially when he was littler. This tip has stuck with me since reading Children the Challenge for the first time in the encouragement chapter. I knew my child was too little and it would be more effort on my part to have my child help me versus me doing it on my own, but I always say yes.
I knew if I began telling my child, “No, you’re too little” when he asked to help me, that would become his inner voice and soon he’d believe that for every task he wanted to do.
Obviously, there are some things that are unsafe for a certain sized child to do but choosing your words carefully, will still encourage them to try again when they get bigger.
Encouraging your child to try something new will build up their strengths, rather than point out their weaknesses.
Next time, your child asks to do something, let them try, their ability to do something might surprise you!
5. Always entertain them
I am not my child’s entertainer. I also have things I need to get done. Sure, I’ll play with my child, but I think it’s equally as important for my children to learn to entertain themselves.
If my child says, “I’m bored.” I may suggest things he can do (since he’s only 4 and may not be able to think about what he should do if he feels he has nothing to do), or I might say, “That’s ok.”
Our society tends to think they always need something to be doing. I’m guilty of this too! Sitting in my car, waiting for my son, I always go on my phone. Not for any particular reason, just because I’m bored.
Or if my husband and I get the rare date night and he gets up to use the bathroom, what do I do? I take out my phone and act like I’m doing something because I can’t be bored!
We need to teach our children that boredom isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think it’s important for our children to learn to be somewhere and have nothing to do and be okay with that!
And a Bonus…
6. Let them win
My child isn’t going to win every game he plays. It’s equally as important to learn how to lose gracefully as it is to be a graceful winner.
There are times he gets upset about losing and I’ll tell him how I feel when he acts that way. Usually, I don’t want to play the game anymore with him if he gets upset about losing.
I’ve seen a lot of children think they get to win everything and that’s not helpful for them growing up to an adult. A win means much more when it is earned, rather than given.
Sure, there are games that I obviously have an advantage at winning and I will throw a game or two to my child to keep him from getting frustrated and think he’s horrible, but games like Go Fish and Don’t Break the Ice, we’re on an equal playing field since he knows the rules and knows how to play the game.
If you allow your child to win every game, they won’t learn failure. Failure is such an important part in life as much as winning.
Of course, all of these are a work in progress. Keeping yourself from doing these things gets difficult at times. I’m still working on it!
But the more you succeed at NOT doing these things, the more your child will succeed in growing into an independent young adult.
If you haven’t already checked out part 1 of the series to read 5 things I will do for my child, check it out here.