Sometimes we get caught up with all the things we believe our children have to do, know and understand. We focus so much on how to change behaviors and control emotions. We have huge expectations, not just of our children but of ourselves. We want magical formulas or the best way to get children to do what we think they should do.
In all that, sometimes we miss just how wonderful our children really are, right there, in that moment. Moments we can never take back.
Do you ever get caught up with expectations, have to’s and should’s for your child? Do you worry that your child is not something you thought they would be or should be?
“You are so full of happy mama!” said my three year old the other day with a smile between songs at “circle time” at our swim class. It was the second lesson and my daughter didn’t want to dance. The teacher wanted her to participate, asked and insisted. Then the teacher offered her a bribe, my daughter declined. I worried for a few seconds, (what will the teacher think of me! why doesn’t she love to dance like me? Wait, this isn’t about me!) I had no reason not to trust my daughters decision to watch! The teacher asked me what was “wrong with her” and I said “nothing is wrong, I think right now Bella is choosing to watch.” We left it at that.
On day four my daughter joined in with one song. In the evening she shared with me “I love dancing to ram-sam-sam!” At the last lesson, she danced a few more songs and even held hands with another child. I was happy for her, but I would have been happy just the same if she had never chosen to dance along. I modeled, I set up the opportunity, I understood, trusted and waited. My daughter was ok with that. I was ok with that. The teacher eventually was ok with that too.
While it’s important to provide guidance and boundaries, our children are their own person, with their own sets of needs, abilities, interest etc… Joyous or sad, leaning in or pulling back, dancing or not…our children need us to love, accept and appreciate them for who they are, and where they are in this moment, in this day and each day, not so much where or how we may wish for them to be.
When you look at your child can you see a unique, wonderful child that is deserving of your love just the way they are?
Peace & Be Well,