Parents, do you make this mistake?

Something happened last night that reminded me of what it is to be a parent. What triggered it is something that all parents do at one time or another. We do it without thinking about what message it send to our kids. I know. I almost did it a few minutes earlier. Seeing the scene through strangers made me question these little remarks.

After dinner, I went to Toy’s R Us to buy a gift for a birthday that my son will attend this weekend. In front of me, a mother asked her 6 or 7 year old daughter to choose a wrapping paper. The little girl and I had our eyes on a wrapping paper with a groovy pattern. Her mother told her daughter that if the one she picked doesn’t work because the pattern doesn’t include a “Happy Birthday” text. Argh! Don’t teach kids to be that literal.  The little girl told again that she wants the groovy pattern. Me too, I said to myself. The mother replied with why her daughter should choose the predictive, conventional birthday paper. Sadly, they walked away with the mother’s choice.

I wanted to say something to validate the little girl’s choice. But I didn’t. I didn’t want to intrude. It wasn’t my place to intervene. What left a mark is that I unsuccessfully tried to push my son to choose my favorite doll as a gift for his friend. I was relieved that I didn’t insist. I didn’t pursuit it because both dolls were awesome. Plus, I got the feeling that his friend would prefer the doll picked by my son. Seeing this mom and daughter made me realized something important. It’s that, in case like that, parents should always let their kids decide.

It’s our job, as a parent, to help our children become independent individuals. People capable of making their own decisions. People who know that their opinions matter as much as everybody. People with their own taste. To guide my son in making choices that I agree on, I expose him to good design. I help him develop that skill to the best of my capabilities. The best way to grow a skill will always be to use it often.

+ photo credits: Pixabay