Parenting Tip: Mindful choice

Posted under Practical Advice

7May
Trimmed and Tailed via Sini via www.smittenkitchen.com

Last night, I was preparing beans when it struck me that I don’t really know why I trim and tail the ends of beans.  I just do it because I saw my mum do it.  I wonder if there is any real reason other than decorative?  Does anyone know?
Of course, my mind began to wander and think about all those other things I do in life because I’ve seen someone do it and I PRESUME/ASSUME that because I’ve seen it done this way, it must be the right way…… Or not?

Which brings me to this week’s Parenting tip.
How often do we do things a particular way with OUR children because that is the way it was done/shown to us?
Of course, lots of things are just fine and dandy to be copied mindlessly.  If we’ve had parents sing us lullabies each night before bed, or who had a special way of tucking us in with a cute little saying or who fed us delicious warm curries all through the winter time, to reflect that in our own lives with our little ones can be divine.  This kind of thing makes me feel all warm and cozy and cared for. You too?
But what if the things we carry on aren’t necessarily “best practice”?  Just for example, I wonder if some parents smack their children BECAUSE it was the only discipline tool they learned?  I wonder if some modern parents feed their children white bread, coco pops and meals from jars simply BECAUSE that is what they were fed?  I wonder if some parents clean their houses with chemicals BECAUSE that is what they saw and were taught to do?
I think it can be very difficult to change those kinds of ingrained habits, especially if one doesn’t have any other kinds of role models in their life who do things differently.  If I don’t have some other tricks in my discipline tool box, I’ll resort to smacking.  If I don’t read magazines or the paper or watch Masterchef, how will I learn about the importance of preparing healthy food.  If I’ve always cleaned with bleach and disinfectant, how will I know that cleaning vinegar and clove oil will do just as well with far less consequences? We all do what feels comfortable or familiar for us, even when we know in our guts that something isn’t quite right.
So, I suppose, in thinking about the topping and tailing of green beans, I learned this.
In every circumstance, if one is not sure of the origin of a particular habit or practice, the best response is to ASK questions.  Ask those in the know.  Ask those who taught you.  Find out why something was done a particular way.  AND ask around for alternatives.
There is never only one way to do something, and just because someone does something one way, it doesn’t make it right.
If your gut response to a particular practice or action or deed is unease or uncertainty or just a slight nagging feeling, listen.  You might just be ready to take a slightly different path.
And remember, just because we did it (or they did it) one way for a while, doesn’t mean we always have to do it this way.  It may have been that way once, but life is all about change and flux and growth and mindful learning, so if you want to change it, do so.
Remember, we are all models for the next generation.  Choose wisely, not blindly.

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