Am I Teaching My Daughter to Give Up?
This morning while dropping my daughter off for school, she asked me if she could have a piece of chocolate from my purse. I instinctively said “no.” And she asked me why and informed me that she had eaten her breakfast. I told her no again. She again asked why. I told her that I didn’t think it was a healthy way to start the day. She asked again. I mentioned that sometimes it would be nice if she would just accept my answer and say “okay mom.” Then I said, “You know baby, it’s a good thing in life to not give up on the things you want. It’s just that it’s difficult sometimes as a parent. So not taking no for an answer and not giving up will take you far in life.” My daughter smiled and appreciated my honesty. She’s used to me verbally making connections between immediate situations and life-long lessons. She then headed off to school with a gorgeous smile on her face after our daily good-bye rituals.
Lia and I started negotiating early in her life. I consider it an important skill in life and one that instills empowerment. If I tell her she can have 10 minutes of screen time (future post), she says how about 20, I’ll say 11, she’ll come back with 19, and so on until we settle on 15. This gives her a sense of power in her life, works her math brain, and teaches her to not just accept blindly what others tell her. If she follows blindly early in life, this could translate to following blindly as a teenager. And parents know adolescence is not a time they want their kids following others blindly.
My ultimate goal in parenting is to guide my kids through childhood and adolescence to become the adults we each wish to be. As a parent I have to slow down at times and listen to my inner voice to search for the best decision for the long run of my child’s life instead of only meeting an immediate need. Honest discussion can help meet both the needs of now and the future. I try to ask myself which lesson do I want to teach my child with this current issue. What will this issue teach her about who she is and what she can do in this life? This isn’t at all about the chocolate early in the morning, it’s about her every day drive to do what is best for herself. It’s about learning and knowing each day that she is the driver, she’s the one who ultimately makes the decisions in her life that matter. I can only guide. I can only be a mirror for her to see her strengths and to allow her to see her own magnificent power: to be whomever she chooses to be, to do whatever she chooses to do and to experience whatever she chooses to experience – in each and every moment of her life. As a child she has serious limits placed upon her daily, but my job is to be a subtle voice in her head that always reminds her that life is meant to be joyful and that she can be, do, or have anything she chooses! My hope is to be a mirror that encourages her to be filled with joy and gratitude, go with the flow, leave worry on the banks of the river, follow her passions, love deeply and laugh often!
My learning this morning translates well to yoga for kids as well as other activities. It is clear to us that we don’t want our kids to give up while attempting yoga poses or trying to make that next basket, or scoring the next goal in soccer. We want our kids to learn from challenges and move forward to reach their potential in our homes and out in the world!
Chocolate is not only one of my favorite treats, but it reminded me this morning of what an extraordinary daughter I have the honor of parenting and from whom I continue to learn heaps!
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 13th, 2013.
Posted in Parenting.
Tagged: children, daughters, giving up, guidance, honesty, joy, loving guidance, negotiating, never giving up, parenting, parenting goals, raising kids, yoga for kids