We have two kids, the oldest is very self-sufficient and tackles his homework with a vengeance. Not so much, with my youngest. She needs a little more help and attention. Lately, both my husband and I have been helping the kids with their homework (mostly because it’s the only time we see them during the week!). So, last night I was sitting by my oldest and just looked at him working away so hard and realized, he just works away without any help or encouragement from me because my whole energy is normally focused on our youngest!
After my son was done with his homework, he needed to go outside and look at the moon for big project. Normally, he would have went out by himself but I went out with him and we had a special little moment. It was dark and crisp and we were looking up at the stars and chatting away about where that darn moon was. It was sweet and I treasured that moment with my guy. He figured out why we couldn’t see the moon and impressed me by the man he is becoming. So, I told him how proud I was of him, how he is handling change so bravely, staying organized and working hard. His dad came up while we were talking and asked him if it has been challenging for him. My son was able to share his feelings. Then, daddy gave him a piggy-back ride downstairs. I think he felt very loved and cared-for.
This was my epiphany…I realize we haven’t been making a point to be there just for him. Just because he is self-sufficient, doesn’t mean he doesn’t need our undivided attention. This wonderful self-sufficient child is doing great and subsequently being ignored because of it. My “squeaky wheel” gets a big part of my attention, energy, creativity and praise. You can see it in families that have more extreme cases of children with special needs, that the entire family begins revolving all their energy around that child. I think it is just human nature…we run to weakness, need, or the baby because they need more help. It’s just natural.
So how do we get out of the rut of only seeing the needs or the efforts of one, to the detriment of the other members of our household? When our kids don’t have our attention, do they feel our love? The tough part is that they don’t need the same kind of help or attention that our other child needs. So, how do we give it to them without them feeling like we are babying them? Remember, they just want you to see them and value the efforts they make.
Here are 5 ways to bless your self-sufficient child:
- Get involved on a special project/read a book/volunteer with them, so you are connecting about something.Do something alone with just them.
- If you check on one child, check on all of them.
- Help them with something they are struggling with. Maybe they rock out the regular homework but have a hard time understanding how to break down a big project into manageable bites. Help them with it. Don’t assume they can/should do everything without help.
- Ask them how they are doing, feeling and allow them to share without correction. Give them a safe place and don’t shut them down.
- Make a point to praise them for how hard they are working, being faithful in chores, having a sweet spirit, or achieving excellence. In other words, be specific.
Thanks for allowing me to share my parenting learning process, I hope this is an encouragement for you as well! Do you have a self-sufficent child or do you have a bunch of squeaky-wheels? Shout it out in the comments below. And, if you would like to read more posts about parenting, please subscribe today!
Blessings on your family,
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