Our children are very loved, but it can be easy for that love message to get lost in the day-to-day correcting we tend to think of as “parenting.”
A child spills some milk and we ask him to not be so careless. He tries to clean it up and we say “No, no, not like that.” He puts a dish in the sink and forgets to rinse it and we show him how. He goofs up on his math work and we correct that, too. We don’t mean to be so negative, do we?
But suddenly he starts to feel like even walking across the room without tripping is unlikely.
Have you ever noticed how you can go blithely through life not ever noticing something like…oh, I don’t know, say kefir? Then you happen to read a nuts and bolts article on someone’s blog about kefir and suddenly you start noticing kefir articles in every corner of the internet, not to mention at your supermarket. You just needed someone to draw your attention to it.
If we never point out our children’s mistakes, they may not notice them and learn to recognize them as mistakes, but the thing about always correcting someone is that it can draw undue attention to what they are doing wrong. And it can leave them with the impression that they aren’t doing anything right.
We all goof up from time to time, it’s part of the human condition. Sometimes those goofs are truly character flaws, but rarely. Many times they are just dumb little accidents. And the goofs are just a tiny bit of what goes on. The 5-year-old doesn’t spill milk at every meal (not most days, anyway), several times a meal, after all. Do we notice when he doesn’t spill his milk? Of course not, we expect him to not spill his milk, am I right?
We can all use a little “bucking up” from time to time. Training our kiddos is a big part of parenting, but training isn’t just about just noticing when they goof and correcting them. It’s about noticing what they are doing right and showing genuine appreciation. And it’s about loving our kiddos and being on their side. We want them to succeed because we love them. It’s about being their cheerleader, really.
How can your cheer for your kiddos? By making “corrections” a positive experience, so it’s not about being wrong, but about learning to do it better. And by not focusing on corrections, but on appreciating every aspect of your lives together. Build them up, don’t tear them down. Support them in their dreams and aspirations and don’t be too quick to point out flaws in their designs.
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