Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Important Parenting Tip #3: Did You Dent the Sidewalk?!

It's been quite a while since I shared any of my parenting insight with you, little ones, and I'm sure you've been missing my wisdom, right? Well, even if you haven't, you're gonna get some more now!

When kids are little, they are clumsy as all get out. They fall, they trip, they bump, they roll. And while it may be your first instinct to suck in your breath and freak when your child, say, falls off the trike and bonks his/her head on the sidewalk, don't. Your reaction will tell your child how to react, so if you freak out, your child will freak out.

I honestly can't tell you how many times I said, "Well, did you dent the sidewalk (or floor, or table, or whatever)?" when my son was a clumsy little one. I learned early on that moving the emphasis from his injury to the condition of whatever-the-heck-he-careened-into kept him (and me) from over-reacting in the moment. Many times I had to hold myself together, keep from freaking out, and deal with whatever the injury was at the time, but it taught both him and me not to over-react. And it was a handy skill to have while he was playin' soccer and football all those years when he was older, I tell ya.

There were many times I would lose it that night in the shower, with the water running to cover up my shaking and tears. But by keeping the focus away from the incident and on the condition of the sidewalk (so to speak), he and I both learned to weather the owies with little drama.

So, the next time your own little one falls off the top of the steps or topples off his/her bike, just pick 'em, dust 'em off, and ask "Well, did you dent the sidewalk?"

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