YOU ARE DOING A GOOD JOB

chloe, eating frozen yogurt in a cone like it ain't no big thing.

recently i read this article, by tim elmore. i have not read a whole lot of parenting books or articles. i try to be careful about what i do read and really follow my gut when it comes to using different techniques in raising and disciplining chloe. i liked many of the things that this article had to say, particularly about how we praise children... and it made me think about the things i say to chloe, and the things that i say to other people as well: my co-workers, my friends, my patients, my husband. it also made me think about words people say that motivate me personally.

like all parents, i hope, i love to tell my child just how wonderful she is. i want her to have good self-esteem. i want her to be a strong person. i want her to be confident. but i don't want her to not work hard. i don't want her to take things for granted. i don't want her not to struggle, at least a little bit. does this sound bad? i don't mean i want her to have a hard time, but i want her to work and to enjoy achievements she has earned, talents she has cultivated, skills she has honed. i want to allow her to make mistakes and be right there to help her learn from them. i want her to know it is alright to not be the best, alright to fail miserably, alright to make a bad decision - that life will go on, and she will still be loved... even while she is still young. i think that learning these things happens early, or it can if you allow children to make decision, and i would be lying if i said i wasn't dreading the day that i will stand by allowing her to really screw something up.

but right now she still has a few days before that happens. however it is not too early for me to start building her confidence. like many parents, i love to compliment chloe. but i have starting to think about the things i say. it is easy to gush and say "oh, you are the sweetest, cutest, smartest baby ever!", and i don't think it is ever wrong to say these things to your child. but now chloe is starting to do thing - like picking out her own shoes, using utensils at the table, coloring, putting away toys, and so on, i am realizing that these compliments are not the best things i could say to her. she has entered that stage where she wants to do more, all by herself. she wants autonomy. so, in fact, the showering of easy compliments might actually be hurting her. i don't want her to grow into a kindergartener who brags that she is "the sweetest, cutest, and smartest" - not that i don't want her to like herself, i just want her to think a little differently. i want her to know she can do things, and do them well. i want her to know she is capable of working hard and doing it herself. so i have started making a point to tell her "wow chloe, you are concentrating really hard on coloring" or "i do love the way you put away your toys" or even "i think those shoes look great with that skirt." today when she was eating an frozen yogurt cone at ikea, all by herself, even though she was making a huge mess, i told her "chloe, you are holding that cone all by youself" - such a simple statement that made her beam so brightly. she doesn't need me to tell her she is amazing (even though i do think she is exceptionally amazing), she does need me to acknowledge her achievements and let her know i am proud of her. and that means more.

she wants to know she is doing a good job. and so do i, and so does my husband, and so do my patients and their families. i recently starting making it a point to tell patients and their families that they are "doing a good job at ___" or when they report something they have been doing that is good, even if it hasn't really helped much, affirming that they "did the right thing". it isn't much, but it really does seem to go a long way, and it only takes me a second, and it is so easy.

since i have become a mother i have longed for nothing more than to be told "you are doing a good job". and i have been told this. one of chloe's pediatricians must be onto this little secret, because she coos it to me at every visit. she knows exactly what to say to a first-time mama. i come out of those visits feeling as if i could mother ten babies... well.. not quite. but being told that i am doing well at something i am working so hard at, well that gets to me. that means something to me. i put that away, and pull it back out when i am having one of those days. remember this commercial? i saw it when chloe was about nine months old. i was in school full time. i was breastfeeding. i was working. i was trying so hard to do it all, and it made cry. in fact, it still does... get your tissues ready:


now, to close this little blog post, here are my little closing thoughts, my little encouragement to you:

you are doing a good job. i hope you are. i know how hard you are trying. don't give up. you can surely do this. 

and now, go and let those around you know they are doing a good job as well. tell your kids, tell your spouse, tell your friends, your coworkers, your strangers... when you see good work - acknowledge it. it will probably mean more to the recipient then you know it will.

that's all.

love,

leah.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Leah, I just discovered your blog, and I liked it a lot. I am a young mom of Madrid, Spain. I am a mother of a child, a baby of 11 months, and I'm also a craftswoman and natural therapist.Y I totally agree with you about what you've written. I will follow your blog daily. And I loved your store, sure buy something, I encantanzan the bow ties!. I invite you to stop by my blog.http://thelittlehouseoftheangels.blogspot.com.es/
    I apologize for my English. Leave your comment if you want. Greetings from Spain. Phibi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phibi,

      i am positive your english is waaaay better than my spanish! thank you for visiting my blog, and thank you for your kind words. the photos on your blog are beautiful and your baby is adorable!

      Delete

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