When it comes to our children we do need to be the ones in control. We are responsible for their safety and well being of course. But we are also the ones that need to teach them independence, good decision making skills, and build their self esteem at the same time. Learn to pick your battles and your whole family will run smoother and everyone will be much happier.
First off does it really matter if your child wears red striped pants with a blue polka dotted shirt? If we are going to church or somewhere special then yes I would prefer that my daughter at least somewhat match, but if we are at home or just running to the store I let her pick her own clothes as long as they are weather appropriate. Yes I get some funny looks but I will have my revenge later because I of course take pictures of all the colorful clothing combinations she has chosen and will be able to tease her about them later. My mom did the same thing with me, she has this wonderful picture of me with orange and pink flowered pants and a green and blue striped shirt.
Does it really matter if every corner of her room is picked up each and every day? I say no, she has an area where she does her “projects” and I personally see no reason why that can’t be a little messy at times. But we do have a hard and fast rule that once a week the room is totally cleaned and any toys or books must be picked up from other areas of the house before bed. She wins and I win.
When it comes down to doing an arts and crafts project you need to be prepared to throw out the directions sometimes. If their imagination takes them to a different place than the directions then so what. Most of the time you are doing arts and crafts for them to have fun anyway, so why stifle them and make it less fun. My daughter wanted to do a scrapbook so I got all the necessary stuff and as it turns out she really just wanted to make a book of her different “creations” using glue, markers, glitter, and other craft supplies. So what, I put up the photographs and she had a great time and I had a blast watching and helping her when asked.
My daughter likes to help me bake cakes, her favorite part is stirring the batter. Sometimes a little slops over but oh well, she will eventually get better at it especially if I don’t berate her and continue to let her help me. I have found that with practice she is getting better at neatly adding ingredients and stirring.
Basically what I am saying is you cannot expect perfection from your children. It just isn’t going to happen. They need to practice the skills you are teaching them and sometimes they will make mistakes. Don’t get me wrong if they are being naughty then by all means take control and dish out the appropriate discipline, but if they are making mistakes because they are trying to learn then a little encouragement and patience will go a long way.
We also all want to teach our children to be independent and sometimes they are going to show their independence a little too strongly for our tastes. That is when you need to make the decision is this a battle I need to control or is it just not a big deal?
After all just because you are the parent and in control does not mean you have to “win” each time you and your child disagree.
Remember the parenting skills you are using now are the ones your children will probably use when they raise your grandchildren. You might also want to keep in mind that someday when you are older the roles may get reversed and your children will be the ones “in control” of you.
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Robin Reckard, co-founder of Jorbins.com Lifestyle Magazine www.jorbins.com/ keeps busy producing, writing, and editing for the magazine as well as raising and enjoying her six year old daughter.
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