Kids Have the Power to Amaze If We Let Them

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*This post was inspired by the children of Shara from

Stop Swooping In

We're all guilty of it at one point or another: Stepping in and trying to orchestrate the communication and relationships between our children.  I don't mean facilitating conversations and supporting them in the process of figuring things out.  I'm referring to the swooping in and "handling" of children's affairs, which denies them the opportunity to handle things themselves and does nothing to help them build new life skills.

Robbing Kids of Opportunity

Trying to solve what appears to be a conflict or potential problem between kids, robs them of the opportunity to try on new social skills and navigate tricky situations.  What's more, we often imagine perceived conflict when none exists.  Our impression of what's going on and the reality of what's going on are often two very different things. 

Understanding vs. Orchestrating

When we stop telling our kids how to do things and spend more time trying to understand why it is that they do what they do, a whole new world unfolds.  Gaining access to their inner worlds and learning about the rationale behind the behavior and the "why's" of their "ways" sheds a whole new light on things. It also opens up the possibility that we can take a peek inside their emotional lives and get a glimpse what's taking place behind the scenes.

A Clear and Compelling Case 

Take this example.  Yesterday I found the following status update on Shara's (of Mommy Perks) wall.  It read:

"My son (four) was holding some stickers earlier. The baby (Sophia) saw him put a sticker on my shirt. She wanted one, also. He took his sweet time picking one out. I finally said, 'Jack! Just pick one!' He replied, 'Not yet, mom. I need to find her favorite color. It's green.'  I replied, 'She doesn't even talk yet, honey. How do you know what color she likes best?' He answered, 'Because every time we color at the table, she always picks a green crayon.' Wow."

Just Below the Surface

"Wow" is right!  Four-year-old Jack had a lot going on below the surface.  He evidenced the power of:
observation ("...she always picks a green crayon"), the ability to store that information and retrieve it at a later time, in a different context (no longer sitting at the table or coloring), the power of discrimination (looking for a sticker with green on it) and the beauty of thoughtfulness, generosity of spirit and a desire to create happiness for another.  That's an awful lot more than what might originally appear as "stalling" and taking one's sweet time.  I adore that little Jack had the presence of mind to regulate himself, respond in a calm manner and describe what he was doing and why.  I'm glad his mom had the patience to hear him out.  

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Kids Have the Power to Amaze 

It's an amazing thing when we slow down, pay attention, ask questions and listen to our kids.  When we allow them express their opinion, share their perspectives and go at their own pace, we allow them to shine. Let's all make an effort to approach our kids with more curiosity and less a need to impose our own wills.

In what areas do you need to step out of your child's way?  Have you already started doing so?  Do you have examples of your own like Shara's?  Won't you join me in being more curious about our kids?


naomi said…
It is very tempting to swoop in but we must hold our tongue and let them just get on with it - I agree
jacqueline said…
This is truly at the heart of teaching. His thoughtfulness is celebrated!
Thanks for sharing! You reminded me why I teach ....

Yes, that is always the challenge. Just letting kids "be" can morph into wonderful moments.


Isn't it amazing? We, as adults, have much to learn, don't we?

Ashley Wells said…
Yes I agree with you that kids have the power to amaze if we let them, if we let our children to explore outside from home, then they might learn anything and it can be also develop to their self esteem.

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