October 2, 2022

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Where you see a disaster, your child sees a new ability or skill

6 min read
Where you see a disaster, your child sees a new ability or skill

Having children is an experience that, although it is accompanied by many wonderful moments, also presents us with new challenges and challenges that teach us how to be parents. One of the parts that we sometimes find difficult to understand as adults is how our children’s brains work.

An example of this is when our children do something that does not make much sense to us, such as some experiments or occurrences they have. However, we must try to see things from their point of view and keep this in mind: they do not do it to annoy us, because sometimes, where you see a disaster, your child sees a new capacity or ability .

When your child grows up and starts to want to do everything for himself

It happens to all of us: eventually, the day comes when our children want to start doing things without our help . This is great news! It means that those little eyes have been attentive to what we have been doing, and his mind already wants to start taking initiative and doing things for himself.

However, at first we may not see it that way, because as I said at the beginning, our adult mentality often prevents us from understanding how your brain works. To do this, I share an example that recently happened to me with my daughter.

Lucía is five years old and although since she was little I have given her the option of choosing the clothes she will wear that day , I have always helped her at some point in the process, either by taking her out of the drawers or putting some clothes on her. For a while now, she decided to take the initiative and one day she started to do everything by herself .

Naturally, being just a girl, the first few times the results were a bit disastrous: clothes were messy or out of drawers and she was dressed in some clothes that -according to my adult mentality- did not match.

I very much remember a day when she did everything without consulting me first, only to later appear in front of me, proud and saying: ” Look mommy, I got dressed by myself and I’m ready! “. In addition to the fact that she was wearing what seemed more like a costume made up of randomly chosen clothes, the clothes that she ultimately chose not to wear were out of place for her.

For a second I thought: ” No, what a mess! “. But then I saw her smile again and her emotion, and I understood that this “disaster” as I initially saw it, was proof that she had decided to try to do things for herself and had succeeded .

After that event, I did not give much importance to that kind of thing, after all, she was just learning to dress herself and the only thing I needed to do was explain to her how to store and return to the drawers the clothes that she would not wear .

However, a few days ago I read a reflection in Scary Mommy about a broken crayon, which made me realize that we have to change our way of seeing things in many of our children’s actions, because although some may seem like a prank, behind them hides something wonderful .

Where you see a disaster, your child sees a new ability or skill

Probably all parents agree on this: life with young children is a beautiful chaos in which there will always be something dirty or messy in the house . From dirtying their clothes or furniture, to that abstract art that they capture on floors and walls with crayons, our children’s pranks are the order of the day.

Some of them drive us a little crazy, because we don’t understand why they do them and it even seems to us that they do it to annoy us. However, we must pause for a moment and change our mindset to try to see things through the eyes of a child : don’t the walls and floors seem like a blank canvas ready to be decorated?

To better explain this, I allow myself to list some examples of the “mischief” that a small child can do at home , and that hide much more than they seem:

  • Where you see that he has soiled his clothes with food , there is the ability to eat on his own.
  • Where you see the drawers of clothes messy and out of place, is their ability to choose and dress without help .
  • Where you see muddy toothpaste , there is his initiative to wash them himself .
  • Where you see his hair wet or gelled , is his ability to style himself.
  • Where you see a crayon broken in half , there is the discovery of the force that it has.
  • Where you see milk or water spilled on the floor , there are their intentions to start serving it without support.
  • Where you see a mess in the kitchen , there are their intentions to help and learn how to cook.
  • Where you see an empty pack of baby wipes , there is their eagerness to help you clean the furniture.
  • Where you see a face or arm with marker strokes , he sees his ability to hold it and draw with it.
  • Where you see the walls or the floor with crayon scratches , there are their experiments in expressing their creativity .
  • Where you see the toilet paper on the floor , your child celebrates that he went to the bathroom without help.
  • Where you see the clothes messed up on the floor , there are their intentions to help you separate them to wash them.

Surely there are a thousand more examples of those disastrous actions that our children do, but with this I want to show that sometimes there is much more than a simple mischief , such as helping with homework or trying to do things without your help.

So we should let them do everything by themselves and say nothing?

The answer is more complex than a yes or no. From the outset, the answer would definitely be “no”, since it is not good to allow children to do and undo at will . But what we can do is be more relaxed and less closed about this kind of thing and reconsider the level of demand we have with our children .

We must give them the freedom and space to start experimenting and trying to do things for themselves, otherwise how are they going to learn to do it? Of course, the first few times will be a disaster and our first impulse will be to jump to do it for them or to correct them .

But we have to contain those automatic behaviors and we have to allow our children to make mistakes . We have to give them that opportunity to try things and understand that they won’t do it right the first time . And probably neither the second nor the third.

The message of all this is this: children do not do things to annoy us. In many situations, they are just trying to help, be self-sufficient, or continue to explore a new skill or ability . And we have to be more relaxed, especially about our expectations and understand that they are just getting to know their capabilities and putting them to use.

Of course, although we must give them space, our job as parents is to continue to guide them and therefore, when any of the examples I have cited happen, we can recognize their effort , but we must also show them how to do things correctly , as well as explain to them that everything What they do has consequences (like their clothes can be permanently stained or shoes worn backwards can hurt their feet, for example).

But knowing in advance that they do not do this kind of thing just because they are mischievous or with the intention of making us angry, we will be able to help them better in this experimental stage of their development, because where you can see a disaster, your child sees a capacity or ability. new .

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