Monday, November 16, 2009

Praise With Purpose

I mentioned in a previous post that Baby learned to ride a two-wheeler! 

What I didn't mention is that Middle, who is 5 and a full year older than Baby, still can't.

As any parent knows, it is absolutely mindblowing that your children can all be SO DIFFERENT.  With different abilities, different skills, and different physical and mental strengths, I often am amazed that all 3 of my boyz actually came out of the SAME WOMB.

That day, Baby first took the initiative and asked me to help him practice riding his bike.  I obliged.  Once Middle saw Baby having success, he, of course, wanted to try too.  (A classic case of sibling rivalry at its finest, right?)

But Middle had trouble balancing.  And subsequently kept falling each time I let go. 

Both boyz began to get frustrated and impatient because they had to wait 5 WHOLE MINUTES (which apparently is like AN HOUR in kid-time) to take turns.  So I got the grand idea to remove the training wheels from another bike. Problem solved.

Yet as Baby continued to get more and more successful, Middle became increasingly whiny and obstinate.  Soon the "I can'ts" let loose.

And there I was, alternately trying to empower Baby with praise for his mastery of a new skill; yet at the same time trying to be sensitive to Middle and his feelings.  (With Baby yelling as he zoomed by on the bike, "I'm 4!  I can ride a bike!  You're 5 and youuuuuuu can't!)


Needless to say, that was a day where my Mad Parenting Skillz were put to the test and one in which I was extremely grateful to be involved with the Fishful Thinking program.  Please check it out - I promise you will learn something new!

From the website: 
With Fishful Thinking, parents can:

*talk with kids about how to deal with the ups and downs of life
*teach effective problem-solving techniques to help kids grow with a feeling of competence
*help kids develop an optimistic attitude that allows them to move past setbacks and obstacles
*help kids to develop their confidence and reach their full potential
*empower themselves to develop positive communication with their children and practice the skills with their kids using fun, easy activities
*connect with other parents to find solutions that help develop happier, healthier, more resilient children.


Kelly said...

Excellent job! I also have 3 kids and sometimes wonder how they all came out of me! Just when you think you know them, they totally surprise me!

Enjoying my visit from SITS!

Manic Mommy said...

So very different! I know that balancing act well; don't belittle the skills of one while trying not to inhibit the attempts of the other. Oy.

Amanda said...

A delicate balance, always!

Cheryl Lage said...

This is AWESOME. (We have not even attempted the two-wheelers yet, and our two are 8. Uh oh. I feel a wave of the "I can'ts!" coming on.

Thanks for the tips! :)

Cyndy Bush said...

I might have kind of laughed a little at the image of Baby zooming by laughing....
Andrew is 10 and just learned to ride a bike.

amanda said...

ugh. being a mom is so hard. especially trying to be a "grown up" mom.

they are lucky they have you.

Sincerely Iowa said...

My youngest daughter was 8 before she got the guts to learn to ride. All of her friends would come over and want to ride bikes, and she would always say NO because she didn't want them to know she still had training wheels.

She finally just decided to do it one day-- it took her about 10 minutes.

Paula Reece said...

I feel for you! If it makes you feel better, Boy #2 didn't learn to ride a two-wheeler until this summer, when he was 7 1/2! And Boy #1 actually taught him! Last year I tried but he was so wobbly even with the training wheels still on that I just let it go. Apparently he was ready this summer, so at least he's not going to go to middle school with his training wheels. I struggle with treating all 3 boys the same because they're not the same personality at all. They get so angry when they think I'm not being completely "fair," but what works for one doesn't necessarily work for all of them, and what one needs, the others may not. I think it's all a big ploy to make us feel more guilt.


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