It is so easy to fall prey to the game of comparing how our children are doing in school with other children. I, as a parent, find myself tempted at times to start comparing my own children with where other children are at in their academic journey. Over the years, as I have been tempted and have even fallen prey to this game, I have been able to remove myself by doing these six steps.
#1: I spend at least 15 minutes with my child focusing on seeing his strengths wherever they may be. Once I am reminded of what their strengths, I verbally acknowledge them to my child letting them know how exciting it is to watch them develop these fun and exciting gifts. I let them know that I love watching them in their unique element of greatness.
#2: I remind myself that my child’s development is not about me. Sometimes as a parent, I have found myself being tempted to attach my self image with how well my child behaves or does in school. This attachment has never really served me well and when I detach myself from it, I am able to give my child his accountability back and better able to support him in his own personal journey.
#3: I remind myself that development in all areas takes time. With her permission, I share an experience of a friend of mine. She mentioned to me that during elementary she struggled with attention issues. Back then, they didn’t seem to have labels like ADHD or ADD but she said that she definitely struggled. She said it wasn’t until she turned around 18 that things finally started to click and she was able to go to college and finish her degree. This story always reminds me that our children are not done developing and I can be patient with their growth and realize they are not done fully blooming.
#4: If there is an area that needs some focusing on, I remind myself that just like I need baby steps in various areas in my life, so does my child. I remind myself to focus on only one thing at a time and leave the rest of the time focusing on my child’s strengths.
#5: If there is an area in academics that the teacher is asking us to help develop, I try my best to find a way to incorporate the strengths or interests of my child into the area of where were are trying to develop rather than try to use the same method that the other kids may be using that’s working for them. Often, this helps me to see that my child’s gifts can help him learn things that may not be easy at first.
#6: I remind myself of the individual progress that my child has made thus far in his or her life and make sure that I verbalize it to them.
While these steps may not work for everyone, they really have helped me stay out of the comparison game and spend more of my time in the enjoyment stage of seeing my children develop into great, amazing, and uniquely talented souls.
What tips do you do with your children to keep you focused on the positive? I would love to learn about them.