3 Reminders All Parents Need to Hear Today
Growth has its own pace.
Growth will not be hurried, forced, or, worst of all, shamed into coming quicker. Progress happens at an individual pace and in a non-linear fashion. Development is fraught with stumbling, shaking vulnerability as any of us at any age develop a new skill. When we approach learning with open-mindedness, curiosity and self-love, the journey can be fun and playful. We can laugh at ourselves when we fail and try again. Even when we experience frustration that we’re just not getting it yet despite our best effort, the feeling of mastery that may come in its own time is a high that is unparalleled. All of this is growth. Growth happens in times of challenge, times of strength, times of courage, times that appear to be stagnation and times of rest.
Close the box.
I read a mindfulness challenge that made me feel supremely silly when I tried it. And it worked. Any time I finished a task, I would verbalize it out loud to myself, for example, “I am done eating dinner,” or “I am finished my dentist appointment.” and then I would pause a moment and take a deep breath to seal its completion before moving on to the next thing. You could think of it as spending a moment to close an open box in your brain, so you’re not juggling tons of partially completed activities all at once by the end of the day. Brains like closure. Brains like completion. It will feel silly at first, but it actually works. Over a short period, it becomes an automatic way of thinking, much like gratitude rewiring in the brain. The aim is for one activity at a time, especially with kids. We can teach them this strategy too to help lighten their mental load. Even a short conversation with our kids using full eye-contact and no other distraction at an unhurried pace places a jewel right into their heart.
We choose to react.
Most of us tend to be highly reactive by nature. We judge a situation as good or bad. We like it or hate it. We can practice sitting back and observing more often without attaching judgment to what we witness. What does that mean in parenting? It means letting our kids figure out more for themselves. Have you ever put your foot in your mouth and realized instantly from the look on the other person’s face that your comment didn’t go over well? Well, I sure have. But what if someone were to swoop in and shame you for your error before you’d even had a chance to fully process it, fix it, apologize for it or learn from it. We can give our kids a tremendous gift by letting them fail, letting them figure out stuff for themselves and not reacting to everything we see them do before they have the gift to self-correct.
Paula Presswood is a former teacher turned entrepreneur. She can mostly be found blogging, doing yoga, drinking tea, chasing around after her three teenagers and sampling delicious appetizers with her crazy magician husband. She is Co-founder of Presswood Entertainment and The ThoughtFull Board. Follow Paula on instagram