Checking Your MindsetMay 24, 2022
Imagine this – you have just spent an afternoon cleaning the house. You walk out of the bathroom, after scrubbing sinks and the toilet, to return later to find your child has attempted to make their own potion with a wide variety of soaps, toothpaste, containers, and the evidence is all over the freshly cleaned counters.🤯
There are many different ways you can handle the situation, but today we want to focus on you stepping back and asking yourself, “Was the behavior annoying or wrong?”
Yes, yes, your child *should* have cleaned it up, but is it a matter of right versus wrong? Most likely not.
Apply that same question to any of the 1000 different scenarios you recently experienced:
- Your child singing the same song over and over
- Your child leaving their shoes and socks in the middle of the living room
- Your child shooting Nerf bullets across The. Entire. House. for the pets to chew
- Your child spilling their drink
- Your child leaving their wet towel in the bedroom
I think you get my point.
Let me be clear – I am NOT saying they don’t need to take care of these situations; we are not anyone’s personal maid. And you should have expectations that your child cleans up after themself. But, I want us to check our parenting mindset so that we can respond accordingly, rather than feel personally attacked and go from peaceful to level 10 rage in T-minus 10 seconds.
Our goal is always for our children to learn to be independent and respectful of others, but I can promise that while my daughter was attempting to be the next Hermione Granger, any thoughts that her potion making would impact the bathroom I just cleaned was not crossing her mind. She was having the time of her life doing what I deeply desire for her to: engage in imaginary play and not ask for screens!
If you ask yourself the question, was my child’s behavior wrong or just annoying?, and you come the conclusion it was just annoying, this is a cue to check your own parenting mindset. Take a second to use a calming strategy (we have printables in our Parenting 101 course!) so that you can address the situation and calmly give them the opportunity to fix it! Sometimes I find it helpful to change that wise, old adage to “We don’t yell over spilled milk.”
Let’s save our energy for when we do need to sit down and have serious talks for the times when your child *does* break a rule.
Quick ending note: If you do have “cleaning up after yourself” as a family rule, we can still handle this situation calmly and give our children the opportunity to clean up their mess, before feeling the need to escalate the situation with unrelated consequences like: “You didn’t clean up, now you lose screens for the weekend!” Remember, we always want to give our children the opportunity to correct their mistakes – this is how they learn best! Often, after a reminder, your kids will often say “Oops, sorry, I got distracted before I could clean it up!”If you haven't already, check out the free video from our course, "Love, Like, Enjoy" here: Watch Free Video from Course
We were also just a Featured Guest on the Selling the Couch podcast, which is a podcast that helps aspiring and current mental health private practitioners grow their impact + income in and beyond the therapy room. You can listen here or here.
Dr. Jordana Mortimer
Want more like this? Transform your home with our Parenting 101 Course, and weekly tips from two Child Psychologists.
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