Monday, January 9, 2012

Stop Fixing Your Kid

Every adult I know has likes and dislikes. No one enjoys everything in life, whether it's food, hobbies or fears we all find some things unpleasant or uncomfortable. And here's the thing, WE CAN'T HELP IT.

I don't choose to hate seafood, but that doesn't keep many people from trying to talk me into loving it. Gee thanks for the pep talk, my taste buds have completely changed now. I never made the choice to enjoy football games more than chick flicks, but I do. Despite the extreme sports I've tried (including skydiving and bungee jumping) I will never scuba dive, even in a pool, because it terrifies me. My husband can tell me a hundred times that certain snakes are not dangerous, but they will always be a phobia of mine. It's just the way I am, it's what makes me "me".

You would never think about "fixing" all of these characteristics in your best friend, so why do we do it to our children? I do believe in encouraging my children to try new things. But once they've tried it and expressed their dislike, I need to respect that. Otherwise I'm sending them the message that who they are already isn't good enough. This doesn't mean I let my kids avoid vegetables, I just make sure I'm either serving a veggie everyone likes or offering an alternative veggie for others. I don't try to reason with them and explain the science behind it if they tell me thunder is scary. Instead I offer comfort and encouragement for being brave when they're scared. Most importantly, I try to never criticize their dislikes or fears regardless of how unreasonable or illogical it may seem to me, it's their reality and they need me to support them.

So the next time you feel your frustration growing because of a "problem" you don't agree with, remember how frustrating it can be on the other side when someone close to you doesn't take your fear seriously. And if your child learns you're not listening to them now, what are the chances they'll still be sharing with you when they're a teenager?

No comments:

Post a Comment