It’s time once again for Heather Johnson from Family Volley to share with us some Parenting Tips as part of her
“Parenting Tips” here on The Idea Room. Here’s Heather in her own words and sharing how parents should support kids and their interests.
Why? Because our children’s understandings and likes and dislikes are influenced by us. If we say we don’t like something, or it is bad, that is how they will probably feel also.
Limiting them, to only the things we like, can stifle their growth and development. We have to be open minded and not let our preferences limit our children. We have to let them explore and adventure and discover.
It is normal and okay for our kids to like things we don’t. That is the beauty of each of us as individuals. Life would be boring any other way.
So what can we do when our kids like something we don’t? What do we do when our kids like dirt and bugs and we can’t stand them?
Provide (Resources, Supplies, Location).
Provide resources. Take a trip to the library and check out books about what they like. Find websites and even classes in the community that help them learn more about their “likes”.
Provide supplies. I might not want to go outside and dig in the dirt, but I am happy to provide our kids with lots of supplies to explore the dirt and bugs. Shovels, rakes, and buckets etc… And when they holler that they need a mason jar to put their latest find, I am happy to provide that supply also. I even poke holes in the top for them. (I just try not to touch the bug).
Our son loves to collect rocks. So a month or so ago, I saved an egg carton for him to use to “classify” his collection. Rocks are dirt to me, but he thought it was the greatest thing ever and felt that I supported his “likes”.
Provide a location for them to cultivate their “likes”. This might mean a place to keep their mason jars with bugs, or their rocks. A special place to keep their supplies so they can get them out when they want. We have a rule that you can’t bring bugs, dirt, sticks, or rocks in the house. So they have a special place in the garage to keep those things they want to collect. Our son complained that he needed his rocks in his room. So we compromised and as long as he washes his rocks first, then he can keep them in his room in his “special drawer”. It might sound silly, but it works great for all of us.
We don’t have to like the same things, but just listening to their excitement and discoveries will make them feel supported. Listen to their adventures and ask them questions. The questions will help their excitement grow and will cultivate a relationship between the two of you. Consider it bonding. (Remember the power of listening first. It will improve behavior also!) If you can’t listen because you have heard about it a lot, or maybe you get the heeby-geebies, find someone who can listen.
When our kids want to talk bugs, I have them call my mom. She is really good about bugs. “You know who would love to hear about your bug, grandma, let’s call her”
Take a few minutes and learn about what your children like. Do some of your own research so you have more to talk about with them. The funny thing, when we start to learn about what they like, we start to like it a little more too. I have found this with dirt and bugs. (And even motorcycles with my husband). They aren’t nearly as bad as I think, when I start to learn about them. Learning about our kids likes, will also show our kids we care about them.
Stop thinking about ourselves.
When I reeeaaalllyyy don’t want anything to do with dirt and bugs, I think about my kids. I look into their eyes and see their excitement. I think about being a child and the sense of exploration that comes with growing up. I stop thinking about the laundry and all that I have to do and I go out with them. And then, all of a sudden, I see it from their perspective and everything changes.
Fake it till you make it.
When all else fails, pretend. Our kids don’t know how much I don’t like dirt and bugs. They don’t need to know. If I give them that information, I know it will squelch their sense of exploration. It’s true, sometimes I fake it, and before I know it, I have made it.
It is okay to not like everything our kids like, but it is important we support them so we don’t hinder their learning and growth. Who knows, maybe our son will become a botanist, or geologist. That might not happen if I hinder his “likes” just because they aren’t my favorite.
What does your child like that you don’t?
How do you support your kids in their latest “passion?”