Parenting Matters: Just ask your kids

  • Wednesday, May 16, 2018 1:30am
  • Life

Life presents you with problems on a regular basis. Little things like opening a well secured box or finding the screw driver to get the door unlocked. None of them are big deals, but they are incredible frustrating.

Yesterday, I picked up a prescription from the local pharmacy. The new pharmacist spent a long time with me telling me how to use the drops I needed to get from the bottle. That was fine, but when I got home I couldn’t make it work. I tried the ways he had suggested but nothing seemed to matter. I gave up after about 20 minutes and did something else.

About two hours later my grandson came into the office where I was working. I had an “aha moment” and asked him if he could help me with something. He said, “Sure.” He looked at the bottle, then removed something small that I thought he shouldn’t. He said it was okay, showed me how to use it — and I gave him a big hug and a big thank you.

He was happy because he knew how to do something his grandma didn’t. He was proud.

It helps to have children feel good about their behavior. Certainly as they get into their teenage years there is plenty we need to correct them on — but it is always important we tell them the things we are happy with as well as those we aren’t as pleased with.

Troubleshooting

There are plenty of ways that children can help parents or grandparent. We just need to ask them. Computers are certainly one of them.

It is amazing how many things children know about a computer. Many times they know more of the computer functions than their parents. While you may want to sit there as he works on your computer to solve your problem, you may be genuinely impressed when he figures things out.

You probably don’t want him changing a lot on your computer; that is why it’s a good idea to stay right with him. Once again, you need to let him know how pleased you are with how he helped.

We have a very sweet dog who lives with us whose biggest problem is that he doesn’t return to the house when he is called. This is an area I need help with, and so I call for help and it is on the way. The boys know where he hides and which direction he heads. Once again, they solve my problem.

Problems you can ask for help with can be little or big, difficult or simple. You just need some different eyes and different methods. Make sure you thank him for bringing back your wandering dog.

In, out of reach

I have two grandchildren who live with me. Every time I need something off the top shelf, one of them is there to help. If I want my car washed really well, the grandchild who is really into cars is there on the spot. If I have a problem with my cell phone, I just hand it to a grandchild to fix.

I have older children where the same thing is true. I received a questionable phone solicitation the other day. When I told my son, he went to my phone and figured out the phone number who had called and looked it up. It didn’t sound good so he called them and canceled the appointment I had made; I was relieved.

We minimize the vast number of ways our children help us. We do this even though we all know how important it is for our children to feel good about themselves and what they can do. Maybe we need to change that. Maybe we need to rely on our children to help us. Maybe we need to just ask them to help.

But for sure, we need to let our children know how helpful they are.

Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. To reach current First Teacher Executive Director Nicole Brewer, email nicole@firstteacher.org or call 360-681-2250.

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