When we were first pregnant, loads of advice was given. The two that stuck out most to us was:
- Never let your child loose their ‘I CAN’.
- Try to positively guide your child to be good and do the right things instead of always saying “No, don’t do that!”
My husband and I had loads of discussions on how we wanted to raise Millah and somehow those two things stuck like superglue.
Without even making the effort or even realizing consciously what we were doing, we always told her that “Millah CAN put her clothes on, Millah CAN hold her own botty, Millah CAN wash her hair …..”
As she grew it just got stronger. Instead of “Can Millah help mom set the table?” It was “Millah CAN help mom.” This of course goes along with actually allowing and encouraging her to participate and DO things herself. Quite challenging for a busy Mom and Dad because toddler “helping” to wash dishes generally takes much longer. But thinking ahead a couple of years, I am sure this patience will pay off and will seem like a Godsend.
The No.2 bit of advice got the creative juices flowing. Instead of “don’t run next to the pool” it was “Millah CAN walk next to the pool rather than running”. “Don’t walk when you have a cup in your hand” became “Millah CAN sit when she drinks out of a cup”. The difference in her response to a positive suggestion rather than being negatively addressed is massive. For her there is a sense of accomplishment and reward when praised rather than wondering when she will step out of line the next time.
I try to think about myself learning something new. Imagine learning a new hobby or sport and every time I attempted, someone said “no, not like that” in an effort to guide me. Oh my word, I think I might give up before I even begin. Then I think of my small baby having to learn everything on earth – WOW what a challenging task growing up can be. So many instructions and rules. Like everything in life, we try to make it fun, positive and rewarding.
Being parents is such a BIG DEAL. So we listen to all and every advice and story we can and try to DO BETTER every day. And the rest, well Michelle Pfeiffer once said that she has a jar to put money in every time she thinks she made a mistake with her child – the money will make quite a penny for therapy later.