Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Learning Curve

I'm following Lisa's lead over at A Bushel and a Peck and pondering my "learning curves". I can't think of a season in my life when-out of sheer necessity- I have had to undergo such a huge paradigm shift in my parenting philosophy. For the past couple of months I have felt myself rebelling, pushing back and shaking my head 'no' with the same veracity as my four year old. I was committed to MY way even in the face of chaos just for the sake of being right.

Albert Eisnstein said, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used to create them". I know I didn't create Prim's fear, but I also know that there have been moments when my sense of being 'right' was more important than her need to be soothed and comforted. It's a tough pill to swallow when I think of how I could have made some things easier for all of us.....if only I hadn't been so intent on parenting according to my needs instead of her needs.

Sarah is teaching me that 'giving' is not the same at 'giving in'. Now when Prim asks for her second or third glass of milk at dinner, she receives it with a smile and affirmation that I am happy to get it for her because I understand that it is comforting. In the morning when I ask her to get dressed and she resists, crying that she doesn't want to go upstairs by herself, I put down what I'm doing and accompany her instead of trying to convince her there is no reason to be scared. I am trying to anticipate her needs before she vocalizes them, ( i.e. crying or whining) just as I did with G when he was an infant. My learning curve continues to expand.

Yesterday we only had one (short lived) meltdown. I felt empowered because I didn't resist the physical embrace Prim needed to calm herself down. I took her into my arms without conditions and loved on her as she cried. I have had to learn that doing this is not indulging her defiance but giving her the tools she needs to become regulated so that later we can have a teachable moment.

I have said this so many times but my children are teaching me how to be a better person. If it weren't for my daughter, my strong-willed wild orchid, I think I would have become stagnant in my parenting, stuck in a self-imposed idealistic box. I can't imagine this life without them and the lessons they teach me daily.


Anonymous said...

wow. Thank you for the wake up call April. I needed that and you put it into words perfectly. I'm printing this for my hubby to read and putting it up on the refrigerator as a constant reminder that it is there needs, not ours that matter most.
thanks :)


April said...

Thanks so much for the encouragement. I would say Grace is a work in progress but she's doing beautifully. It's really me that is changing and adapting. I am learning so much from her struggles and am so thankful because I am growing too. :)

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