Posts tagged ‘child independence’

Parents In The News: Kid On Subway

What Is Your Subway?

What Is Your Subway?

So Izzy was on a NY subway alone.  As a parent coach, people ask my opinion.  Parents want to hear me say either; Mom should never have let a child do that OR It was fine for a NY Mom to do that.  The real answer lies elsewhere for me.  I need more info.  So my Counter Offer is to give, not so much an opinion, but my thoughts on the issues, intentions and impacts of the story. 

The Lead In  I’m curious about the conversations discussed and lessons provided to prepare Izzy for such a task.  Is he prepared for what could go wrong?  Getting lost, stranger snatching, injury, losing his nerve, or poor judgement are all realities that would do well to be covered.  The trick is to be realistic of the hazards without casuing paralyzing fear.  Assume Mom did this; point of fact, he made it home.

The Event Imagine you are Izzy.  What is going through your head as you locate, ride on and then leave the subway for home?  You are feeling trusted, accomplished, capable, powerful and special.  Talk about Appropriate Power! These feelings are not to be scoffed at.  If sending your child on the subway is not in the cards for you, find a way to recreate them for your child.  This is the element of parenting that Mom points up as being missing in the lives of kids today.  We know that, yet are scared to put them out there, thinking the stakes are too high.  What’s your version of the subway?

The Impact Its National News and Judgement for the Mom.  It’s not my place to say if she should or shouldn’t have made that choice, she is in charge of that.  I feel less concerned than when I hear a child was left or fogotten on a subway.  That is evidence of a parent being too concered with other things.  I never got that feeling with this Mom.  It is clear to me she is parenting Izzy in a way that is Intentional not Automatic, Aware not Unconscious, Considering not Past Based.  I am gad to see that. 

What About You?  Your personal opinion does not matter (about this), and that’s democracy, baby.  Instead, spend some time looking at where you have traded your child’s independence for safety without looking deeper.  Where can you foster some new skills for them?  Where are you ready to grow and (gasp) give them back some time to themselves?  Here’s my suggestion:  Instead of setting out to protect them from every danger and mishap (which is in the end utterly impossible), spend some real time literally and figuratively preparing them for WHATEVER happens.  I am clear I cannot promise my child that nothing bad will ever happen, but he knows this; WHATEVER happens, he can handle it, because I promise to raise him with the practical skills and information to do that.  Plus, I’ll be here when he needs me (which is less and less now,) but still very important.

One last thing  IF I were to put my son at the same age, in a similar situation, I would opt for the cell phone; but that’s what I’m in charge of with my little guy.   That’s about the best you’ll get from me.  To Izzy’s Mom, you’re on to something, keep digging.

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June 22, 2009 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment

Parent Coaching- Tips On Needless Power Struggles

Who Needs A Ball To Wear The Gown?

Who Needs A Ball To Wear The Gown?

A friend once described the biggest fight repeating in their household with their three year old daughter.  When they were leaving the house, the daughter wanted to wear her princess dress or fancy pajamas and high heels.  The Mom flatly refused, so there would be a regular tussle and yelling every time they left the house. 

As she told me this horror, she actually blinked at me, waiting to hear me agree that she indeed had it tough.  What I actually said was what I usually say when someone I know gives me the gift of seeing a parenting insight within their own lives, “Do you want some coaching?”

 
Before I go on, I must share that people who know me are fully aware of my focus on and vision for families.  If someone does not want my coaching, not only do I not offer it outwardly, I do not judge them internally.  That would interfere with my ability to make a difference, when and if they ever do invite my perspective, and it would suck to be around me.  I can’t have that. 
 
So back to the little princess… The Mom says, ‘What did you hear?”
 
I asked her why it’s not ok to wear a costume in public, for her.  She gave a few reasons that were along the lines of that it would be embarrassing, people would stare, they may talk and think ill of her or her daughter.  Your garden variety chatter that goes on in your head at 500 words a minute.  Wait… do you hear it?  The voice that said, “I don’t have a voice!”  That’s the one. 🙂
 
Right then, her eyes got wide and she saw that her reasons had nothing to do with supporting her daughter and everything to do with keeping up appearances.  There was a shift in her relationship and I had a new concept to share.  What you are in chage of and what your child is in charge of. 
 
In the Licensed 2 Parent program, we train you to think carefully about these and list them out.  Two things happen.  Things the parent thought they needed to be in charge of get moved over to the child.  This offers new opportunities for appropriate power to the child, reducing the need to create power struggles.  The other thing is that the kids get practice in managing aspects of their life under your loving guidance.  This builds their self-esteem, confidence, expression and independence in natural ways.  That is what future adults need practice in. 
 
My son loves to wear his clothes backwards, mismatch socks and shoes, and dress up in a Super Buzz Venom outfit to play outside with friends.  He looks like a goof, but I’m not in charge of that and he knows it.  When it’s time to pick up to leave for an appointment, he is cooperative because I am in charge of that, and he knows it.  That’s what I am out to create, families that work. 
 
PS The Little Princess lived happily ever after wearing her gowns about town for almost a year, after that she moved on to another fashion statement.  Mom still is going with it.
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November 9, 2008 at 5:27 am 1 comment


Dawn Roth

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