Parents know damn well that no one really prepares you for the reality of having kids. First it’s the infant phase that’s full of fun surprises. Then it’s the toddler phase that tests your patience in ways you couldn’t even imagine. And through that phase you realize that you are constantly teaching your kids something – how to count, their abcs, colors, shapes, and the list goes on. Then with school age kids you have bring back your rusty math skills that you haven’t used in 20+ years! That’s probably the easy stuff. You’re also teaching compassion, sharing, forgiveness, patience. Man oh man.. that’s the heavy stuff.
So if you sit back (without your kids yelling for you) and wonder — what’s your teaching style as a parent? Do friends or strangers comment on how great (or not great) your kids are at something and thought to yourself – “I taught them that”?
I came across a realization that my husband and I have drastically different teaching styles. And I’m so glad we do.
During our ski trip to the Pocono Mountains this weekend I very much and miserably failed at teaching or even remotely convincing my 4 year old daughter to stay in her ski lesson for more than 10 mins.
I found myself at first trying to convince her how much fun it would be but her tears and sobbing wouldn’t let me get a word in. We swapped her ski boots out 3 times only to come back to the first pair she had to begin with – yeah she definitely got me there. I wasted hours with that task and by the time it was time for her lesson I just wanted to throw her in and let her figure it out. Clearly it didn’t work.
We sat for an hour, ate some PB&Js and snacks and she was a whole new person. Hangry is seriously her middle name.
My husband came back from his lessons and asked how the morning was. He could probably have just guessed it by the look on my face. Once he got the full story he went into his cool calm collected self and turned on his teaching mode.
I saw how he talked to her, and asked her questions that she was able to answer. Within the next 30 minutes he was able to:
- get her ski boots back on (happily I might add)
- took her to an open area where she walked around on her skis
- got her to agree to take her lesson again that afternoon
All while she was smiling!! Granted she didn’t like the lesson again but she did agree to ski down a slope and took her first chair lift ride with her uncle! All thanks to her Aunt who just threw her into it without really giving her a chance to say no, which worked like a charm.
WTF though?! Am I just so impatient that I couldn’t accomplish the same? Did I use a different tone, different questions? It truly made me think of what I could and should have done differently. Instead of trying to push her into it, could I have done more hand holding and had better conversations to gain her trust?
And to be honest, could it just be that she’s just not that into it?? (The smile above says otherwise!)
Our 6 year old son was as happy as he could be, loved being in his boots and carried his skis most of the day.
But she is the exact opposite and maybe I need to be ok with that.
I preach to them all the time that they’re not the same person, and they don’t have to like the same things but I completely failed at following that when it came to this experience. Had I just asked her if she’s just not into it, maybe my morning would have been a LOT different.
So what’s your style? Do you throw your kids into something? Do you work it out together? Are you the cautious teacher who stays by their side the entire time? Do you give up before your kids (guilty 🙋🏽♀️)?
I know my style is constantly evolving with the situation, the environment and even with which child I’m in front of. And sure there’s no right or wrong way to parent. But what I’m definitely proud and happy to say is that she still enjoyed the trip, the snow, and the company!