Moms are always telling their children what to do and how to do it. Mothers know best! In a perfect world, our children would just listen intently to every word of wisdom that we give them, and they would follow every direction we gave them. If they listened to us, we could prevent their heartaches and headaches.
We tell our children what to do, and what not to do, because we, as adults have had more experiences, and we have learned what happens when we do, or do not do, certain things. We, as adults, understand what consequences are. Yet we would like to shelter our own children from experiencing consequences. Why should they have to go through what we went through? We can prevent it! We can shelter them, shield them and protect them by telling them what they should do.
As much as we would like to keep our children in a bubble of perfectness, we as Mom’s need to start thinking about helping our children progress and learn independence through other means.
Our job as parents is to help our children learn to be independent of us…how to thrive on their own (not really what we moms had in mind… won’t they always need us?). By focusing on making their choices for them (telling them what to do), we end up protecting them. This soothes our motherly souls, but can cause tension between parents and children and is not a great long term solution.
Children need to learn the value of a consequence. “If I do this, then this will happen”. Instead of focusing on telling your kids what to do, focus on helping them learn about results.
Let’s look at an example. It is a freezing cold day, and you need to get your 5 year old to kindergarten on time, and you are already running a bit behind schedule already. Your 5 year old is amazing, sweet, and stubborn, and refuses to put their jacket on. You spend 5 minutes explaining to your child how cold it is outside and that they will surely freeze to death if they do not put their jacket on. Your child spends that 5 minutes screaming “no” to you. In the end, you wrestle your child into that jacket and there are a lot of tears and the stress level is high. But you have won! Your sweet angel has that jacket on, and you know that they are protected and warm. Your child is sobbing and upset that you would not listen to them! But you know what is best for them…your child needs to listen to you.
Let’s look at another way of handling this. Instead of arguing with your child, allow them to experience a consequence. You have told your child once calmly that it is very cold outside and that they need to put their jacket on (be sure you make eye contact with them, get down to their level to ensure that they really hear you…their brains process things quickly and they may have a hard time focusing). When they refuse to put their jacket on, simply say “okay, that is your decision not to put your jacket on”. Then proceed to leave as usual. It won’t take long until they complain about how cold they are. In this situation, you will have brought their jacket with you, and when they complain about the cold, you will put it on them, and say something like “thank goodness for nice, warm jackets! Next time, let’s try putting your jacket on before you get too cold.”
In the second example, both Mom and child are less frustrated. Of course, Mom is still worried about her child, but she would never allow her child to be in a situation that was unsafe. Mom knew that this would be a good learning experience for her child. The child now knows that if they go outside without a jacket, they will be very cold, therefore they need to put their jacket on before.
Your child may also learn over time that what you are telling them is actually true. (“My mom did say that it was going to be freezing cold without my jacket, and it was. Perhaps I should listen to my mom next time!”). No one wants to be told what to do. It can be hard to rationalize with a 2 year old (or a 5 year old, or a 13 year old, or a 40 year old!)
Everyone learns more deeply when they have an opportunity to experience it themselves.
Reduce your own stress, and theirs, by breaking down the walls of protection. Let them make choices, and allow them to deal with the consequences of those choices and actions, and you will immediately create a more positive and respectful relationship.
You are an amazing Mom! Be sure to reward yourself today… Buy yourself some flowers, or give yourself 20 minutes of free time for a bath, shower, or to read a good book. You deserve to feel like a queen for 20 minutes every day. Go GIRL!
Tina O’Connor, BsC Psych.
President & CEO
4 years ago, I felt like the rug of my life had been pulled out. To avoid a complete mental breakdown, my wonderful mother suggested that I get a babysitter and go out for lunch with her. I agreed, found a sitter, and away we went. I had the most awesome afternoon, and I felt so much better. The following week, we met for lunch again, and my sister Brenda joined us. During that lunch, we asked ourselves if we could make this sort of thing work every Wednesday. Could we really pull off lunch together every week?
I am happy to report that 4 years of Wednesday lunches later, we have made it work almost every Wednesday, and we only reschedule if someone is out of town. We make Wednesdays a priority, and we have all consciously made a choice to find a way to make it work.
You can make these kind of choices in your life too. Start by asking yourself a question, like “could I write a book?, or could I take 1 afternoon off a week?, or could I work from home?” As soon as you answer yes to the question, you will be on track to actually do it. Make your dreams a priority. You can have, and do whatever you want if you think you can. So go for it! Namaste.
Today is the day that we are supposed to tell the people we love how much we love them. There is an expectation that one will receive flowers, chocolates, jewelery or a beautiful, romantic night out.
I love the idea of Valentine’s Day in that we tell people we care about them and appreciate them. What I do not like are all of the expectations that we have placed on one day. I think we should consider every day to be like Valentine’s Day and not wait for one day to tell our loved ones how we feel. And I also do not think you should feel pressured to spend a lot of money on something to give to your loved ones as a sign of affection.
Making a homemade card with an affectionate saying on it, or writing a love note and giving it to someone can be more powerful than any diamond bracelet. (don’t get me wrong, diamonds are still a girls best friend…)
Don’t wait for Valentine’s Day. Say “I Love You” everyday with your words and with your actions. Getting flowers on a day that is not Valentine’s Day will surprise your sweetheart even more.
Express your love everyday and always try to maintain an element of surprise. Everyone loves a good surprise. Happy Valentine’s Day!
This morning when my alarm went off, I was inspired by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s song, “It Takes Two”.
It takes two to make a thing go right…
It takes two to make it outta sight!
Every successful relationship requires all persons involved to put in effort . One person alone cannot make the world go around, nor should they try to!
When you are a team, and both parties are excited, motivated, and putting the effort in, you can make it “outta sight!”
It is very noticeable when any relationship is one sided. Expectations are placed on one party, while the other party chooses to put their efforts elsewhere.
You can only be responsible for your behavior and your efforts. And you cannot expect to change others. If there is a relationship in your life that is not reaching the heights that you expect, you cannot take that all on! Take on your 50% of the responsibility that you have in the relationship, and be sure to communicate with the other party about your feelings.
If you want all of your relationships to soar, it will take two. Nurture the relationships that fuel you and that create positive results. Think carefully about relationships that don’t.
And above all, smile and remind yourself that you are amazing. Namaste!
Life gets so busy that we sometimes forget to take time to let the people we care about know how much they mean to us. Make time today to show the people you love that you care about them, and are thinking about them. Here are some ideas on how to let them know:
- Send flowers and a meaningful card, or have flowers waiting for them when they come home (or bring them with you when you meet)
- Send an e-card, or mail an actual card
- Call them and tell them outright how you feel about them
- Plan a date night
- Cook their favorite dinner or dessert
- Buy some rose petals and sprinkle them on the bed
- Do something to make life easier for them, like washing their car or taking out the garbage / recycling
- Put a note in their lunchbag, or on / under their pillow
It is amazing how good it feels to share with others. And don’t forget about you! You should be the most important person in your life. So be sure to do something nice for yourself today too. Flowers are nice… Namaste.
A perfect partnership is one where two people are willing to put in the same amount of effort towards achieving a defined goal. Plan together and then work hard towards achieving that goal and you will succeed… together. Namaste.
Be honest with yourself and everyone else in your life. Being honest with yourself means to always respect and listen to yourself. You know deep inside of you what is right for you, and what is not, and also what you really want out of life. Listen to yourself. You know what is best for you.
Be honest with others, and always tell the truth. Be straight up with the people in your life. Even if you feel like you are going to hurt someone’s feelings, be honest in the most tactful way possible. You can only control your own feelings.
If you are honest, you will develop an amazing sense of trust in yourself. Others will respect you and look up to you for being true to yourself and to them.
Do something nice for a friend today.
“A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often – just to save it from drying out completely.” Pam Brown
Is there someone in your life that you have been thinking about, but have not seen or spoken to in a long time? Today is the day to give them a call. Do it now!