Saturday, March 7, 2009

As Bela Karolyi Once Said, "You Can DO It!"

Sitting here in the Pepperidge Farms Fishful Thinking workshop listening to the amazing Dr. Karen Reivich...

Wish I possessed court reporter keyboard skills -- so much to share -- will start with this bit of wisdom that will undoubtedly sustain me in future moments of twin tumult:

"The next time your child is frustrated, consider saying 'Congratulations.' They must have had a goal!"

Granted, at the time of optimum outburst you may not want to reinforce certain anger manifestations with too much laudatory feedback; but what Dr. Reivich is encouraging us to do as parents is pause. Take a maternal moment to assess from whence the frustration was borne -- acknowledge it. Ask them to recount their process that led to the confrontation/irritant/brick wall. Guide them to construct an alternative strategy. Don't swoop in and "do it for them." (Hh-ee-lllll-oooo, Cheryl Lage who still seems to intervene in occasions of shoe tying marathons. Unless they make adult shoes with Velcro, I'm doing my kids a time-saving, but self-defeating disservice.)

Allow them to struggle. Empower them to succeed.

Can you recall (would you share?) a time when you've unintentionally reinforced -- with the hopes of "eliminating" the ugly moment, but in reality have perpetuated and prolonged-- the perceived "inability?" Responded to an "I can't" by doing it yourself -- basically supporting their belief?
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PS - Guess who ate a half-bag of Double Chocolate Milanos last night? The bag indicates a serving has 140 calories. Sure hope the bag contains only two servings....

13 comments:

Rebecca said...

Great idea...this post is exactly what a lot of parents need to hear (coming from an 8th grade algebra teacher who has had to give some failing grades in her day)...it's so much more important to watch them try than to see them succeed...trying is most of life. Succeeding is half and failing is the other half. Kids learn from failing though...they learn to try again and therein lies the success you can claim as a parent.

Rachael said...

it is so easy to just do something for your children when they are frustrated, i do it often. lately though, i have been making a conscious effort to let them experience trial + error, encouraging + helping rather than just doing. love this!~

Jules said...

Oh my gosh, I can't wait to try this! It's going to be really hard, but I think I can do it. Hope it works!!
Hey, sounds like you're having a good time there! Happy for you, and can't wait to hear some more good little tid-bits of info!

Take care!! ;0)

Carrie said...

Didn't you know that travel calories don't count?

The importance of trying and failing is hard lesson to learn for yourself, and I imagine a million times harder for your children.

noble pig said...

Oh yes, with shoe tying we went backwards first! But alas we are good now! Great tips.

Missy said...

Wonderful Words of Advice!!!!

I know that I have intervened - probably most when we are in a hurry and they wanted to brush their hair, put on clothes, etc.
But I will try by best to be a supporter and stand back and encourage them to try - My new promise to myself

Terra said...

I ate me serious junk food the last few days. I can so relate to your last sentnce.

Tiffany said...

Great post, girl! I had so much fun with you this weekend!

I love the interaction you are getting!

Just got on Twitter as SITSGirls... ahhhhhh.

angie said...

I've been wondering how the symposium went. Tiffany told me it was really exciting!

BoufMom9 said...

jeez! I hope you don't want me to actually tell all the times I have done that. UGH
I have certainly gotten better at having the kids do for themselves, but back in the day, I always helped too much.
Live and learn :)
Glad you got so much out of the seminar and could share with all of us :)

Debbie said...

This is great. And of course we have all done this. A wonderful reminder of how we should respond.

Jen B. said...

I had never thought about it, but I do this all the time! I remember Hannah learning to tie her shoes.... I would always step in & "help" her before she had a melt down. Finally, my hubby sat down with her & let her struggle until she got it. I guess I need to practice this principal more often!

MoreThanMommy said...

I think this is wonderful advice. My kids are still very young (3 + almost 2), but my response to the never-ending calls for help is almost always, "Keep trying. You can do it." As a result, one my daughter's first (and favorite) sentences is, "I did it!" I love the way their faces light up when they solve their own problems.