You've probably heard the parenting advice of "Pick your battles", right? I totally get what it means - don't sweat the small stuff, be choosy in what's really important. The intent behind this oft-cited advice is good: Be mindful of what boundaries and limits are nonnegotiable and when it's wise to model flexibility.
But can we talk about what the underlying message reveals: that your child is the enemy.
And that's just not true. Your child is a human with free will, a unique personality, their own outlook on life, and their own opinions about....well, lots of things! And they aren't your enemy, and you certainly aren't their enemy. In fact - you should be their greatest ally!
This mindset shift doesn't mean you automatically agree with whatever your child wants. But it does mean that you work on teaching your child critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and what healthy conflict looks like.
WHAT THIS LOOKS LIKE:
👉🏼 Nurturing a young child through a transition rather than expecting them to suck it up because you said so.
👉🏼 Giving children choices within your boundary, which allows them to feel autonomy and age-appropriate control.
👉🏼 Using "Yes, and" instead of "no" to empathize while holding a limit with gentle firmness.
👉🏼 Problem-solving with your child to find a plan that works for both of you, which we teach in our Collaboration + Cooperation workshop.
👉🏼 Welcoming your child's questions and evaluation of your values and goals, and with older children, inviting them to identify and adopt family values with you.
Our words matter. They hold the power of life and death! And as parents, we hold the pen that writes the story of our relationship with our children. Let's shift our mindset to a collaborative, partnering, life-giving paradigm rather than holding onto an old paradigm that not only fails to serve us well, but positions us against our children.