“OVERWHELMED” is what parents feel by their children’s behavior throughout each stage of development, especially in moments of stress and frustration. Most parents choose to focus on their own feelings and seek short-term results (How do I get this behavior to stop right now?) rather than choosing to focus on the potential benefits from the situation that may serve long-term goals (How do I use a situation to teach them life skills, like responsibility?)
So, the first step in changing our “Parenting Values” is agreeing on what are the goals we need to achieve with our children?
* Respectful or humiliated child?
* Responsible or dependent?
* Able to solve a problem or easily frustrated?
* Caring or selfish?
* A child with a balanced character or a psychopath?
Answering these questions, as parents, we’ll all definitely choose the first options of the above sentences. Well, great long-term goals, but first off, we have to consider two things:
1- We have to consider our emotional reactions to children mistakes, and its impact on them and on our long-term goal.
2- The needed steps to reach this long-term goal.
Here is an example that articulates one of our goals:
“A toddler broke a dish in the kitchen, and the frustrated parent yells at the child and blames him while quickly cleaning up the mess…”
Here, we have an obvious example for a parent who focuses on short-term goals.
However, a long-term-goal-oriented parent can choose what benefits he/she can get out of this situation, without being emotionally-driven.
The ideal scenario here would be as follows:
The parent can explain to the child how he/she can fix their mistakes. They can show the child where the whisks are kept, so he/she can clean up the mess. The parent can also ask the child to think of a solution to prevent a similar problem from happening again in the future ( e.g.: holding the plate with two hands).
And to conclude, our message to every parent who’s going through this phase is to follow these steps:
1- Separate your emotions from the situation and think logically,
2- Give your child the key to responsibility and problem-solving,
3- Teach your child how to learn from his/her mistakes.
Hence, focusing on the bigger picture of “learning from mistakes” helps the child feel capable; through practicing “problem-solving” and teaching him /her how to be responsible for their own mistakes.
Now as a parent; what will you choose for your child, long-term goals, or short-term results?
The answer is yours.