Most parents want to do right by their kids. We don’t want to push or harm them. We want them to feel encouraged, not discouraged. So, we follow the age recommendations on boxes of toys and activities, assuming they are in place for safety and ability; directing us the right way. Yet, are we not limiting some kids? What if your kid doesn’t fall into the average for all activities?
I don’t know who is deciding the age recommendatio on these boxes. Sometimes, it is obvious that there are edible parts, and no one wants kids to eat toys and be harmed. Yet, most of the time recommendations seem more to protect companies from being sued by the 3% that do the silliest of things. Harsh? Maybe. I do get it. It’s understandable, yet ultimately, if we know our kids well enough, they could have more chances to explore what they are most attracted to.
Know our kids
We do our best to know our kids. The small ones are more on the surface and showing more of who they are, so that is much easier. If we are lucky, we get to spend more time with our kids to find the way on our own, yet, we don’t all have this choice or luxury with realities of life. Either way, pooling info with whoever is getting to know our kids is ideal just to keep a grip on who they are. Probably it happens naturally anyway and many of you have that reality rolling along. The main point is to use this info to make decisions according to who our children actually are, not an average that assumes who they are. It opens something.. being allowed to explore a “variety”of things at any age, it can be amazing to see what unfolds.. Our kids surprise us at every turn.
At any age, our kids may be attracted to various different things. You would be surprised at what kids CAN do earlier than we expect. You’ve seen it, right?! Most kids excel in one area or another and blow our minds with delightfully surprising moments. Perhaps, if some restrictions were lifted we could see what exploring comes. Perhaps they are connecting to their destiny before more limiting beliefs and judgements come into place as they get older and are more effected by others. Kids intuit so much without us explaining or showing them anything. Some years later, it all changes. Why not take away creative borders, now, and see what happens?
Creative borders lifted
Imagine what our little ones, actually all of us, could do without limitations and borders around what we are “allowed” to do or seen as being able to do! We have all seen our kids do incredible things. Well, maybe we are a bit biased about our own kids. Yet, for sure, all little creatures/kids do show us where they are are drawn to, given the chance. They are little unfiltered magnets.. pulled toward all kinds of things, if we just let them! Absolutely, it goes without saying, that light supervision or total interaction are a must when exoloring new things. Each of our kids have different needs in different moments. We have to be aware, sure.
Together or alone
Sometimes, it is tricky to know when to be involved with kids activities and when to stand back. El tends to be pretty outspoken on the matter, so it flows as its meant to. Yet, naturally, I tend toward opening a box of “new to us” things, and stand back in 1st moments.. to let Ella discover, create and find her own way.. I consciously make the decision to have Ella ask me to be involved and do things with her. 1. I want her to learn to ask for help as she prefers to do nearly all things on her own. 2. Because I don’t want to influence her. 3. Because kids need to feel trusted, to not have us hovering all the time.. they need space to spread their wings and fly and build confidence as they do!
Helicopter parenting seems to be still growing strong, at least in some countries. What happened there?! I just don’t think we get to complain about young people’s lack of motivation and so on without realizing our part in it all. I go to playgrounds around the world and watch a combination of horrors. Everyone on their phones and not acknowledging their kids or kids they are looking after, at all. Or, parents 3 inches away, never lettig kids fall, fight and sort it on their own ( at least let them try before reminding them, unless super extreme moment). Then, you have the people who let their kids smash others without a word. No! And, then you see some, during activities who get involved, yet aren’t overly forcing their ideas of “how” the playing etc “should” happen. Yes! Ok. It’s my opinion. Agree or don’t. Yet, our kids are smart! We have given them great tools! Trust they will use them well+ their own twist.
Hey! We give our kids the tools, they do and will use them. Just remember, they are still the artists! They will take those tools and create as feels right to their own souls. Let them manage their worlds as best they can. Most kids mainly want to be seen and acknowledged and loved and accepted.. for who they are! ( Heck, who doesn’t?!). They want to show you what they know and when they want to “do with us” they will. We ask them, they ask us and sometimes we or they say, “no”. Sometimes, one side (parents) or the other (kids), might have another idea of how things might be done, go down, be played out. It’s so important that “both sides” learn some flexibility! This is how we grow.
This is how we grow
We teach one another, every day. Big person or small person, we teach each other, if willing. Each with their unique perspective. Our truth and rightness is not necessarily the same for another. Core values effect it all. Who we truly are effects as well. No matter our age, openness is a requirement for evolution. This is how we grow, right? It’s such an incredible opportunity, if we are able to allow all people to grow us, without judgement about who has the right to, or is old enough to know and so on. Life is much more interesting this way. And, perhaps we are too.
An interesting life?
There is a point, as person or parent, when we have to ask if we want to be right ( in our opinion), or have a more interesting life, where we keep learning. This is what makes discovering with children, rather than for them, essential. Sure, we can be right, and smart and show our kids how to do everything. Or, we can 1st see what kids do. My dear friend John Crane reminded me about this over lunch, when Ella was just a baby through a story of discovery. (Perhaps we’ll have him on Imperfect Parenting Podcast, to talk about this more.) Sometimes, kids find new ways we hadn’t thought of. How lovely to not know every possibility. How delightful to watch our kids grow strong through showing US things, discovering through their own way of exploration.
Discovered and rediscovered
We often, unconsciouslessly create obstacles or limiting beliefs according to our own personal experiences. Yet, isn’t it the point that our kids evolve beyond us? Improve upon what we did right and wrong? Discover what we couldn’t Build higher? Going well beyond our greatest knowkedge and accomplishments? If we lift some of the borders, while keeping others strong, perhaps what comes will allow kids to be who they are “meant to be”. Perhaps they will more clearly discover and use their natural gifts and talents. What a gift to know these things early on. Letting our children find their clear path. Not, what we hope, dream or create for them based on our own lives. What a gift this could be. We each have so much potential in this world. I can’t wait to see what is created. It’s only the beginning.