My five-year-old is a determined little boy and when he gets his mind on something, he doesn’t let it go. He puts this face on, that looks a little bit like constipation with a smirk that flares out on the left side of his mouth. He is very much like his Daddy, strong-willed and fearless. It has always been a blessing rather than a curse raising a boy with those traits; however, lately he has said a few things under his breath that have me a bit concerned.
Last Friday, we were all sitting around the table enjoying dinner when I heard Ryan (that’s my son) say under his breath “I can’t do this” and then threw his fork and knife down. We all just kind of looked around at each other wondering what the sudden outburst was for. I should mention that we were enjoying pork chops and green beans for dinner and I am not the best cook so the pork chops were a little dry/rubbery. My son is fairly new to the idea of using “big boy” utensils (aka regular size fork and knife). He struggles when it comes to cutting his food, but if my husband or I try to help him cut his food, he gets upset so we have been letting him do it on his own. Well last night, prove to be too challenging for him. He gave up! I had a minor mommy meltdown inside…
What happened to my determined little boy?
Have I not encouraged him enough?
Have I placed too much pressure on him?
Should he be handling a knife?
As these questions raced inside my mind, my instinct was to blurt out affirmations…
You can do it!
You are great at everything!
You will get better!
I had no idea that me doing this would make it worse. Ryan left the dinner table pouting and went to his room. I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong and what the big deal was.
I brought this to my gal group (a group of us moms who grab coffee and rant and rave about life). A bunch of moms were shocked by Ryan’s behavior as they have met him and know him to be a determined little boy.
There was one mom in the group who mentioned that how I reacted was wrong and that what I should have done was sided with my son in a way that made him feel like I was understanding and supportive. Well I thought that that was what I tried to do. She mentioned that I should have let him say what he said about not being able to do it or that it was hard. What I should have said was “Yes, I know it’s tough, but you will get better” or “You may not be good at that now, but give it sometime and you will be like a ninja!”
I guess it is all in how you respond to negative self-talk. In adulthood, I hate it when I tell people I am feeling blue and they come back with a rebuttal, like “you shouldn’t be blue, your life is AMAZING!” I am aloud to feel blue sometimes and same goes for your kids. Let me know it’s okay to struggle because they will get better.
Do you agree or disagree with this? What works for you?
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