Kids Are Capable of More Than We Give Them Credit For

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. . . but yet we send them mixed messages and treat them like they are incapable.

Hopefully today’s post will be a little shorter 🙂 Also, thank you for all your positive comments yesterday. I was worried and it appears as though I didn’t need to be.

So let’s talk about kids and capability today. Because, you see, I think we underestimate the capability of kids, especially in today’s helicopter parenting world.

We tell kids that they can grow up to be or do anything. I realize the good intentions behind that statement, but it’s not exactly true is it? I know we want to encourage kids to be and do their best and that they have a lot of potential, but how do we say it in a way that is encouraging but also honest? That if they work hard they can accomplish a lot of things, just not everything. I don’t want to crush their dreams, but I also want to be honest and genuine with them. So many kids, for example, dream of growing up and playing pro in whatever their chosen sport is, but the number of kids who actually grow up to be professional athletes is very little. I used to dance when I was little and I was decent at it, but I was never going to be the next Misty Copeland. I played soccer but no matter how hard I worked I was never going to be the next Mia Hamm. And I know we don’t want to burden kids with reality, but I think there has to be a better way of being both encouraging and genuine. Maybe something like “Dream big, work hard, and learn to love the life you have.” Or maybe I’m just a cynic for thinking this way – tell me what you think.

But even though we are telling our children they can do everything, we’re not acting like it. We’re simultaneously telling them they can do everything and then treating them like they can’t do even the most basic tasks of their lives. A survey found that 43 percent of parents admitted to doing their child’s homework. Not just helping, but actually doing. And I heard on NPR the other day that a small percentage of parents are actually going on job interviews with their children. And less than 25 percent of parents insist that their children do chores (used to link to a Boston news article – now broken as of 2/8/14 – such is the nature of the internet).

So we may be telling kids they can do anything, but our actions are saying they can’t. That they’re not good enough to do it themselves. Or that they take too long and we can do it faster. Or that they need our help to succeed – even after they’re become adults. And while I do believe in helping them, that’s different than doing it for them. How do they learn and grow if we never give them opportunities to? Sure they may not do it as well as we can or as fast as we can, but did we start out doing it perfectly and speedily every time? We had to start somewhere. But doing everything for our children may help them (and us) in the short term, but where does it get them in the long term? Are parents going to go to work with their kid too? (Assuming, of course, that going along to the job interview wasn’t completely off putting to the employer.)

What we need to do is to show kids that they are really capable of doing things themselves. Will it take them a while? Probably, but it is time well invested. Will they fail sometimes or not do as good of a job as we wanted? Probably, but those failures give them opportunities for growth and to learn from the experience. Letting your child fail to finish a paper they’ve known about for weeks but haven’t started on helps them learn not to procrastinate and start earlier. Encouraging your child to try things where they might fail helps give them courage to try other new things. Practicing something they struggle with or do imperfectly will help them do it better. And the confidence they gain from succeeding on their own is not something you can give them in any other way.

We have got to start letting our kids do the hard things because that is the way they grow and learn. All I have to do is see the look on Dominic’s face when he accomplishes something himself. “I did it mom.” That face says it all.




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Learning to Use Forks

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The post in which I show you many pictures of my son learning to use forks and then at the end talk a bit about baby led weaning.

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I have loved every minute we have done of baby led weaning with Dominic. Hands down, one of the best parenting decisions we’ve ever made. I absolutely 100 percent recommend it to everyone and if we ever have future kids, we will be doing it with them as well. It has just been so much fun to watch him learn, grow, and explore. And I think he has really enjoyed it too. We frequently get smiles during meal times and I think it helps him to feel confident and empowered. That last part is especially important, I think, because this is a time of his life where he strongly wants to do a lot of things for himself. But at the same time, there are increasing things that he can’t/should not do. I have to tell him things like “Don’t play with the lamp door,” “Don’t crawl on the dishwasher door because I’m afraid your weight could snap it off,” and “Don’t open the dishwasher while it’s running.” But in eating, I say yes to him. “Yes you may play with your food.” “Yes you may smash your food.” “Yes you may taste that and chew it and swallow it.” These pictures were taking today of him at a year old learning to use forks while eating some mango and enjoying every second of it.


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Mister Rogers Talks About How Moms Feed Their Babies

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This video to me is really sweet. Makes me miss Mister Rogers. But I also point this out because I think it’s very important that breastfeeding be normalized and shown in society, not hidden away. We have plenty of science now to show that breast really is best for babies, but our breastfeeding rates are still lower than they could/should be. A lot of the reasons women stop are reasons that are completely preventable. I think it would go a long way if we could normalize it and make it acceptable. That’s why clips like this on Mister Rogers are so great.

Disclosure: This post may contain advertising or affiliate links. 

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Interesting Editorial

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I ran across this editorial today and I thought I’d post it here. It makes some really good points about the way our society works – the really bizarre way. It talks about how we present this idea to little girls that the way they ought to be is really sexual and then when something happens to them (like they are raped or anything else), we blame them for their over sexualization even though that over sexualization is something we’re presenting as how you get ahead in life. It’s interesting to consider, no doubt, because I definitely do think the message that you need to be “sexy” and “hot” is out there and that this message is being pointed at kids younger and younger and I have seen a lot of victim blaming for being “too sexy.” So I definitely think that this cycle that the editorial talks about is highly worth considering.

Children in Pageants

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I’ve spoken about this before, but I recently ran across a blog post on why kids should just be kids and not dressed up and getting botox and things like that and I really liked it and agreed with it, so check it out.

Kids Are Not Dolls

Little Girls Doing Brave Things

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Whenever I read a story like this, I can’t help but be overcome and moved by the courage and the bravery that women, even young women can show. Besides, I think I talk often enough on this blog about the bad stuff, and while this story isn’t wholly 100 percent happy, it is amazing.

Click here to read about a nine-year-old girl who pushed her younger sister out of the way of a truck, saving her life, but losing her own kidney and leg. It’s pretty amazing for anyone to do that, let alone a nine-year-old.

Kate and William and the Expectation to have an heir

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I want to preface this post by saying, I am not anti-motherhood. I think that being a mother is a special right and privilege given to woman and that God gave us the ability to be mothers for a reason.

That being said. It is wrong that Kate is expected to have an heir. Comments like this, “”If Kate is not pregnant in the next nine months, she will be defying 200 years of royal tradition” and this, “If I’m being brutal about it, Catherine’s duty is to make her husband happy and to produce an heir” are wrong (Source broken as of 10/14/15). It’s not because I think that motherhood enslaves women, it’s because I worry about what will happen to Kate if they don’t have a child.

This kind of expectation, royalty or not, could be very harmful. What if Kate and William have trouble conceiving? According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 1 in 7 couples face that difficulty (Source). What will happen to them then? Will the blame fall to Kate? Will the media crucify her? Will they blame William for marrying for love and not marrying a royal?

I have a few friends who struggle with infertility and I see how hard that is for them. But, how much harder would it be for Kate and William if they face infertility on the public stage? I don’t think it’s fair to have such a heavy expectation on her to have children.

I hope for her sake, they are able to get pregnant, because I wouldn’t want to go through infertility under the scrutiny of all the eyes in the world.

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