Thursday, October 9, 2008

Un-frustrating Our Children

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.”
--- Proverbs 3:27

This verse is used in one of the boys favorite 3-2-1 Penguins episodes, The Doom Funnel Rescue. It’s a great lesson for children to learn, and we go over it quite a bit at home. If you can help your brother out, you do it. It helps reinforce the message that siblings aren’t to be victimized by one another; they are a team, and we expect them to support, not torment, each other.

Recently I’ve been thinking about what a good lesson this is for parents as well as children. All too frequently we decide there’s one good way to do things, and by insisting than our children toe the line we are, in essence, withholding the good of helping them make their own decisions. We frustrate them when instead we could make things easier for them.

I’m not advocating that we “make things easier for them” in the sense that we do things for them that they should do for themselves. Instead, I think we need to remember not to provoke and frustrate our children, in particular with rules that don’t mean anything. For example, if your five year old wants to eat breakfast first and then get dressed for school, let him. Just because you think it’s more logical to get dressed first (since he’s already upstairs in his room when he wakes up) doesn’t mean you need to insist he do it your way or else. If his way turns out to be so inefficient it makes everyone late, then maybe your old rule was important. But if it all works well, you shouldn’t care. There are hundreds of examples of these situations we face every day; before you insist on “my way”, stop for a minute and decide whether you’re making things easier or adding to frustration – in other words, are you delivering good or withholding it?

Thanks for listening to me lecture. Blessings.

1 comment:

SarahHub said...

I agree with this parenting strategy. I often have to remind myself to focus on the big things and let Evie take care of the small things "her way."