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Letting Kids Own Their Problems

kids own their problemsIt’s that time of year again. Off they go back to school and everything in our household ran smoothly up until the last minute when my daughter realised she couldn’t find her school skirt. That’s a fairly necessary piece of equipment for the first day of term, they police uniform quite strictly at my daughter’s school and they would have noticed.

So it’s lucky she has friends who always seem to have a spare of whatever item she is missing, and parents who don’t mind them lending it out. My daughter had called round and organised the transference of the Spare School Skirt before mentioning the problem to me.

‘Don’t worry Mum, I’ll wear the broken one to walk to school in’ she said, meaning her old skirt with the zip that doesn’t do up.

‘I wasn’t worried’ I replied.

How different to those early days of parenting! In those days I would have been anxious, irritated and angry all at once. I would have stormed about saying things like ‘Well why didn’t you get it ready last night???’ and ‘You’ve had the whole of the summer holidays to get ready for school, why did you leave it till the last minute???’ and ‘Well I ASKED you if you’d got everything you needed!!’

Except that this time I hadn’t asked her. I had at some point I remember, said ‘You got everything ready for school yeah..?’ more as an assumption than a question and I think she said ‘Yeah’ but I can’t be sure.

And in the past I wouldn’t have let it go either. When she’d got home I would have said ‘It’s all very well that you had one to borrow this time, but what if you hadn’t? You’re lucky you’ve got friends who can lend you things, but it won’t always happen, and then where will you be? You have to learn to take responsibility’.

But what I’ve learned over the years is that my children’s problems really do belong to them, not me, and it’s best not to get involved and take the responsibility away from them. If you let kids own their problems, you find out they are quite capable of sorting them out by themselves. And how much nicer life is for me – and for my children – without accusing, blaming and lecturing!

We still can’t find the skirt though. Where DO lost school skirts go?

4 Responses

  1. Christine
    | Reply

    Ooh, I’ve just recognised myself as the mum you used to be!

    • Stephanie Davies-Arai
      | Reply

      !!! I’ve found that having four children you just bit by bit lose the level of energy required for that level of engagement..!

  2. Stephanie
    | Reply

    Such a good point!

    I would be that ranty mum. But it’s so true, their problems are theirs. You sound like a very cool mum.

    • Stephanie Davies-Arai
      | Reply

      Thank you! Years of practice have taught me to save my meltdowns only for when they are really necessary. Surprisingly rarely!

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