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June 26, 2020
Of all the gifts I want to give my kids, there’s one that stands out above the rest: I want them to know that their performance, that what they produce, matters infinitely less than their character and their effort along the way.
Carol Dewitt, PhD, talks about this in her groundbreaking book, Mindset. She layed the foundation for what it means to live life always learning and growing (a growth mindset) and what it means to live life always focused on proving or maintaining an idea that you’re smart and accomplished (a fixed mindset).
Dr. Ken Ginsburg, author of Raising Kids to Thrive, takes it one step further. He incorporates mindset into a larger concept: focusing on 7 main core characteristics that help kids grow to be resilient adults.
Their books are must-reads but can be a bit overwhelming on the surface. It’s daunting at first to think about how much it really does matter how we approach parenting.
I think about performance a lot with my kids. At this point, I understand enough about child development to know
Pre-COVID, we spent the majority of the days running errands or going to appointments together, having a special lunch, and getting in some special time together at the park or the local ceramics painting studio. I’m going
Now that there’s hardly anywhere to go, I can reflect back on what I didn’t like during those busier times together and the thing I realize is missing now compared with before is me saying over and over, “Please hurry up, We need to go now. We’re going to be late. Let’s go. We have a lot to get done.”
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s wrong to train my child to listen or to just be along for the ride. It’s just part of life that my kids get dragged to a few boring meetings. But I’ve started to build awareness around how, if all the time I spend with them is about them sitting quietly and behaving or
When I push my little one to perform, she starts getting frustrated (and so do I). The more I push and prod her to get with the program, especially when it eats into our originally-planned easy-going itinerary, the more she resists.
“Come on, baby,” I hear myself saying and regretting all at the same time
Here’s what I do really intentionally to lessen my day-to-day expectations of performance with my kids now that the initial coronavirus lockdown and then subsequent societal slow-down has forced me to reset:
The last few months have been challenging in so many ways. They’ve also provided a unique opportunity for all of us moms to take a step back, looking more closely at how we live our lives and how we parent, including the ways we unintentionally ask our kids to perform (especially when we’ve got stuff to do). Slow it down, Mama. Less performance-based days with our kids = more opportunities for genuine joy and connection with them.
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