My relationship with my kids is at a milestone. I can sense it.
I used to control everything the kids did. I scheduled their days, arranged their playdates, transported them everywhere and made sure they were fed. As they get older, they, understandably, want more control. They want to interject their opinions and vast (from their perspectives) knowledge and wisdom. It’s tempting to be offended by their assertions, but I’ve come up with a way to handle it that averts any insult to my ego.
When they were younger, their mindset originated from an insecure, fear based perspective. In other words, when they made a mistake, they’d be quick to think, “Oh my gosh, is Mommy mad? Did I disappoint her?” The focus was on me. But as time passes, it simply can’t be about me anymore. There must come a point in time where they begin to work on themselves, where the focus is on becoming a better person to be able to function out there in the real world.
The focus must shift to the child. My goal is to get my kids to ask themselves something like this, “Hmm. That didn’t work out so well. Okay, next time I’ll try something different. So, what did I learn from that experience? How did it help me grow?” We believe that mistakes are a good thing. They function as a tool to help us improve ourselves. Try something. If it doesn’t work, try something else. Learn from the mistake and move on. Let it go. Chalk it up to a life lesson. Acknowledge the improvement in your self.
It’s sort of like focusing on the solution rather than the problem.
When they’re all caught up in wondering whether they disappointed me or their dad, I see them slouch and look devastated, their confidence goes down (along with their self esteem) and they can often spiral downward into a sort of “I’m such a bad kid” kind of mentality. Well, gosh, who wants that??
On the other hand, if, when they make a mistake, they stand back, look at what happened and fix it, they can focus on their accomplishments and their successes. Then they’ll stand taller with heightened self esteem and more confidence.
And, eventually, when it’s time for them to step out into the world on their own, they’ll be much better able to handle all the trials and tribulations that come their way.