Monday, March 4, 2013

Coaching kids to fight their own battles

I have a saying about Brady: "If you give him an inch, he'll take 65 miles and you'll find him 2 counties over getting into trouble."

It's true! That kid is sooooo smart and such an opportunist and he adapts so quickly and is such a good debater, he will see what he can get me to do and then he will take a little tiny give on my part and run with it. One small give-in and I'm facing weeks of him asking for the same thing - and more! - over and over. But you did it that time, Mommy. How is this different, Mommy? Why, why, why, Mommy?

Ugh. I love that kid more than life, but my goodness I have to be careful what I let him get away with and what I do for him.

In the last year at school, he's asked me several times to try and handle problems for him, to "talk" to the people involved to make them stop what they're doing. As I said in the post earlier today, we cannot make people do what we want them to do. He can't and I can't. And unless I think the situation has really truly gotten to the point I need to take action, I will not get involved and will not fight his battles.

I believe deep in my heart that if I did that, I'd be robbing him of a valuable life skill: handling your own problems. Taking responsibility for your part in something, learning to adapt to different situations, learning to handle different personalities, changing yourself for the better to counteract someone else.

As always, this does not mean if I felt he was being abused, bullied, treated unfairly, exploited, shamed, or any other damaging thing, I would not put a stop to it.

In one case, an older girl called him a name and messed with his backpack.

I told him to 1) ignore her, remind himself over and over and over to ignore her. If he isn't providing entertainment, she'll get bored and stop, 2) he was right to tell the bus driver when it involved his backpack, continue to do so, 3) don't allow himself to let her upset him. She cannot jump into his head and make him think, do or say anything. He's in control of himself and whether someone upsets him.

He solved his problem, he ignored her, and now it's done.

I feel like a coach, giving him pep talks, giving him ideas on how to handle things that come up in life. Isn't that what parenting is at its core? And he takes what I say to heart and gains confidence in handling things on his own.
These are priceless lessons that I would not be teaching him if I rushed in to save the day. And with Brady, once he learns something, it is ingrained in him. I also feel like this approach communicates to him that I have faith in his abilities to handle his own problems and be independent. And my faith was founded. I'm so proud of him :) Thank you, God.

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