On p. 26 of the Love & Logic Catalog of goodies that we received yesterday was a list of five helpful hints for guiding our children to solve their own problems (that are used by effective parents as well as effective teachers). They were as follows: Step One: Provide a strong dose of empathy and listen.
Step Two: Ask, "What do you think you are going to do about this?"
Step Three: When they shrug their shoulders, ask, "Would you like to hear what some other kids try?"
Step Four: Give them two or three possible solutions. After each, ask, "How will that work for you?"
Step Five: Allow them to learn from the happy or sad consequences of their choice.
Step five is the hardest, granted! We've all been there. We want with all our hearts to spare our children the painful and difficult things they have to go through in life as a result of poor choices they have made. They will more than likely go through unhealthy relationships, bad grades, financial repercussions of misbehavior, loss of a job, dream, part in a play, position on a team and more...all because they chose poorly when they acted in those situations. But think about this: Wouldn't you rather they have those experiences and deal with the consequences in situations that don't really matter in the big picture? Wouldn't it be better that they experience the consequences that are small in order to learn how to make better choices down the road?
We parents so often think part of our job is to prepare the world for our children, instead of preparing our children for being out in the world! We get out there and guide every step they take, thinking we are doing them a favor...and what are we really doing? We are whisking them away from the principle of cause and effect! Unfortunately, our world runs, as does our universe, on cause and effect. There isn't much that happens that doesn't have a ripple effect on someone or something!
Many of us pride ourselves in not rescuing our kids, but don't realize that we enable them: we remind, we pick out their friends, we micromanage to the point of not allowing them to make their own choices. Undoubtedly, it is out of our great love for them, however they grow up lacking a rudder ~ the voice that urges them to choose to make good decisions. This is a powerful concept, as the Fays pointed out at the workshop: a loving relationship allows our children to grow up!
We need to stand beside our kid and become a "consequence evaluator and consultant", as the Fays put it. We can say, "Ooh, look at that mistake they're going to make! That's going to hurt~ but it's also going to help them grow, mature and learn." We need to think to ourselves, "Good luck with that!" Then back out, let it happen and go to prayer!
But in our love for them, we can also say, "If you need any other ideas, come see me." We must let them know that we are there for them while we can be~
More soon ~ Until then...
Ann Van De Water ~ Author, MOMMY MEMOIRS~ A Hilarious and Heartwarming Look at the Trials and Triumphs of Being a Mom
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