Have you ever had a child break a glass at home? Or maybe worse, pull something from a grocery store shelf that shatters all over the floor? These can be frustrating and maybe embarrassing experiences for parents; but I have to as,k why? What is it that makes these shattering events frustrating? Could it be our paradigm as it relates to how our children learn?
Think for a moment; your child is programed to learn from you–programmed to learn by touching, tas
ting, hearing, smelling and looking. There you are in the store aisle looking and touching your different purchasing options and soon your child begins to mimic you. Instead of realizing that they are learning how to be grown up like you, the normal reaction is to get frustrated and tell them to stop touching.
Here is where the paradigm shift comes into play. Instead of being concerned about their touching, think of it as a learning experience. Oh sure, it might take a little longer to shop; it might take a few extra minutes to help our child put it back just right, but is it really that difficult? Also consider the idea that once they try it a few times, it might not always be so interesting. However, if you keep saying “don’t touch” while your child sees you touching, it creates a stronger desire in their mind to figure out what is so interesting about touching.
Now you might be saying, but what if something gets broken? That is a valid point and it can take up some time if it happens. You might also find it a little embarrassing if something does break. However, and here is another part of the paradigm shift, this mostly happens at the grocery store where things don’t usually cost more then a few dollars. Okay, a few dollars, what’s the point? The point is, your child is learning, and you will ultimately spend thousands of dollars on their education, but you are freaking out over a few dollars and a little time!
I realize that there needs to be boundaries, and unless you are a billionaire you probably don’t want to turn your child lose to touch in an antique clock shop. But where it’s not such a big deal, it is time to rethink our parenting on this topic. After all, how many times does something actually get broken? Could it be the fear is greater then the reality? I think kids are capable of much more then we realize.
So next time your child breaks something, or spills something, or touches something, stop and ask yourself what is happening. Is it worth getting upset over a learning experience? Besides you are teaching the next generation how to react to their kids in the same situation.
Now it’s your turn. Share your thoughts and opinions on this idea below.
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