Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Parents: Open your eyes!
Many years ago a friend came to visit me in our first house. My husband and I had spend countless hours redecorating, scraping wallpaper, picking out carpeting, light fixtures, and paint colors. I was proud of our home but as I was giving a little tour of it to my friend, I realized that the ugliest room in the entire house, (the second floor bathroom) had been left untouched and remained papered in the horrible brown foil wallpaper that the previous owners had chosen. By this time, we had lived in the house for over two years, and had virtually redecorated every other room. As I commented this to my friend, she remarked that she too found it easy to become "house blind" to things that you disliked but simple got used to, or forgot to focus on.
So why am I sharing this story on my parenting blog? Here is why. Many parents have a habit of becoming "kid blind" to behaviors in their children that might warrant some attention. It happens because we carry around all of the memories of our children as tiny, helpless, dependent creatures that rely on us for everything. But in reality, kids grow up fast and are remarkable capable and resourceful.
As a teacher, I am reminded of this each day at preschool. My little three and four year olds sit at our lunch tables. They pour their own juice from our childsized pitchers. They stay in their chairs until they are finished eating, and then they know what to do. They clean up their mess and return their lunch box to our lunchbox laundry basket. But I am sure that many of their parents would be surprised to see how uneventful meal time is at school, versus what they deal with at home.
I know that children behave differently in different environments, and I only share this story to illustrate the capabilities that exist within our children. The task is up to us, the parents to take the time to thoughtfully evaluate where improvement is needed and then develop a strategy to foster development in that area for your child. Does your children play nicely with others? Does he/she use simple manners when receiving a gift or eating a meal? Does your child exhibit self control when he/she must wait for your attention? These are just a few common areas that sometimes are overlooked by parents, when some attention is needed.
Taking the time to teach your child social and emotional skills will allow him/her to grow in confidence and be able to foster relationships with teachers, coaches, and peers more successfully throughout the coming years. And this is a very good thing!