My first-born daughter, known to you as Little Miss, has inherited 100% of my personality along with some of her Aunt Colleen’s. Among many things this had led to coaching through moments of getting overwhelmed. One strategy we use is to take 3 deep breaths. When she can focus enough to do so, that means she is usually ready to talk about a situation, take a break, or return to a situation. Teaching LM coping strategies for when she becomes overwhelmed has served as a good refresher course for me. Take a deep breath.
Independent play is a skill many parents covet and try to cultivate. LM is not particularly drawn to independent play. She is more drawn to interactive play. She likes to have a lot of attention, do a lot of talking, and ask a lot of questions; like all the time. Is this my fault? Have I given her too much attention from the beginning? No, it’s her personality. Children are born with personalities. Now that she’s older how do I teach this skill? To what limit do I push her? Will she always need so much attention? Will she never be able to entertain herself, immerse herself in a task or schoolwork without constant prodding? Take a deep breath, Jane, take a deep breath.
How do I save both my girls from the negative media bombardment – you should be skinny, beautiful, flawless, perfect, pleasing, nice, have some edge, not too much edge, etc. etc. etc.? I can’t shield them from media but do I let them watch too much TV? Should the princesses have been off limits? What if she wants a Barbie? Do I need to hide my People magazine? They’ll both have eating disorders for sure if they see that People magazine. Take a deep breath, Jane.
My peer group (including me) is meta-cognitive about parenting and our children. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy thoughtful conversations and thoughtful parenting. I believe the shift to child centered thinking and care is of great benefit to the generation we’re raising. That is, when it’s not leading them to the path of an inability to function because of my constant care, attention and intervention. But maybe it’s just my American children because I’ve read several pieces about how much better the rest of the world is at raising their children – whether it be a French child making cupcakes independently at age 3, or the 2-year old machete expert living in Mongolia when my 3.5 year old still doesn’t use a fork, not to mention 6 year old, in Germany, caring for his 3 year-old sister with great independence and delight. Take a deep breath, Jane.
The truth of the matter is that we have no control at all so our choice is simple. We can be in agony or delight in our lack of control. Somewhere in the middle let’s take a collective deep breath.