Thursday, November 18, 2010

Letting go of some things

It can be tremendously difficult to allow one's child to do things for himself/herself, especially when it comes to crafty-type activities.  An adult's idea of what looks good is very different from what looks good to a child.  And for most kids, it is the doing of it that is most essential and the pride generated  rather than the professionalism or perfection of what has been created.

In the past two weeks, N's Girl Scout troop has done a couple of crafts.  Last week they painted their daisies on their smocks, and this week they began making Christmas cards and ornaments for nursing home residents.

I couldn't help but notice some exasperated "be carefuls" and the "don't do that theres," which were always followed by a sulky Girl Scout being completely uncooperative.  And I hoped that I wasn't sounding like that to N.

On occasions when I have allowed my adult creativity to impede her child creativity, I have seen the defeat on her face.  Because to her it sounds like, "You're not doing this right," and truly that is what it means (even though I can tell myself that I'm just trying to help her do it neater or whatever).

I try to remind myself that when it comes to crafts & similar things, I have to accept whatever it is N comes up with....just as I do her clothing choices.  My openness to whatever she does with only the most gentle assistance (and only if she wants it) tells her that she's ok the way she is.  That her choice of a green shirt, orange and purple striped pants and strawberry-patterned leg warmers is alright especially since she is doing it herself (and that is one less thing I have to do for her).   That her placement of stickers and stamps and her misspelling of Cristmas is ok, especially since the most important thing is that she is doing for others to bring them joy.

There are times when holding one's tongue is the best course of action and one that every mother needs to become a little better at as her child develops.


Devin said...

One of my favorite things about N is the way she dresses. I love that you let her pick her own outfits out...and I love that she rarely matches...

Keri said...

I would be a TERRIBLE preschool teacher because of the whole "letting them do their own crafts" thing. I've loosened up somewhat, but I still find that the latent perfectionist in me always comes out when I'm helping my kids with a craft.

I'm with you on the clothes thing. I tell I'll let them dress themselves most days, but on certain special occasions, Mom gets to choose their outfits. This seems to work pretty well for us. I guess since they have the freedom most of the time, they're willing to give it up for family pictures and holidays and such.

Actually, Bailey has started wanting me to pick out her outfits for her, but I think it has more to do with sheer laziness than with trusting my fashion sense. :-)