Feb 26, 2012

Characteristics In Children That Are Given A Bad Rap

Characteristics in children that are given a bad rap. Why do we frown on them? What can we do to see them in a more positive light. #parenting

When you think of qualities you would like to see in your child you may think of empathy, kindness, gentleness, or politeness. But there are some attributes that are often underappreciated or even discouraged. I thought I would share a few of these qualities with hopes to dispel some of the negative attitudes surrounding them.


Eagerness 
"Can we go now? Can we go? Is it time to go? Can we go now???"

Sometimes it's given a bad rap and labelled as impatience. However, the eager child is the adult you want to be working with, the person who is ready and willing to get the job done. The eager child is the adult who will join you in dance, yoga and pottery lessons. They're excited to try anything and everything.

Eagerness can also be a wonderful attribute to observe in your children. This past Christmas wouldn't have been half as exciting if my oldest daughter didn't remind me daily of how many more sleeps until Christmas. I want my children to be eager... their eagerness helps feed my own excitement about life.

Outspokenness
This is a quality that people often regard as rude. Being outspoken does not necessarily mean being rude. I want my children to speak up. I want them to be bold. They may need direction on how and when to do so, but I don't think being outspoken is a negative quality! If my child's rights are being violated or they see someone else being bullied or hurt, I would certainly want her to be outspoken.

Persistence
"I can do it! I don't want your help! Let me do it"

Persistence. This is a quality that often gets under a parent's skin. However, persistence is a beautiful quality to observe in young children.

The other day I was watching my baby lying on her play mat in the living room. She propped herself up on her elbows and looked around the room. I saw the distinct look in her eye when she spotted her favourite item... her soother. She used her arms to lurch her body forward... dragging her legs behind her. I observed closely as this "commando crawl" turned into a real crawl. She toppled over and let out a cry of frustration but then got up and pulled herself forward again. When she got to her soother, I observed her pick it up with her little hands and maneuver it skillfully into her mouth. Wow!

Where would we be if our children didn't have persistence? This quality is the cornerstone of learning and inevitably leads to mastery. Why would we discourage it? I want my child to be persistent.

As parents, we want the best for our children. However, sometimes the "best" may not fit the mould that society deems as the best qualities. Take a moment and consider your own child(ren). Are there any qualities that they display that get under your skin? What is it that you don't like about those qualities? Is it more about you than it is about your child (i.e. you're fearful of how others will regard you as parent, if your child is demonstrating those characteristics?). Perhaps as parents, we need to appreciate and support our children as who they are instead of trying to change them.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Can you think of any qualities or characteristics in children that are given a bad rap? I would love to hear your opinion on this matter.


7 comments:

  1. This is such a great post because you are absolutely right - why would we discourage those qualities when they are young only to seek those same qualities when they are grown? Makes no sense, but I think it is rarely thought of in that light! Can't wait to hear everyone's opinions...

    As for me, I do need to work on this, like A LOT! Especially the eagerness. Sometimes I am busy doing something unimportant (chores) or I am busy with another child (nursing) and their eagerness doesn't fit my schedule (sheesh!). The "please be patient... why don't you blah blah blah while you wait for mama" doesn't work. What do you suggest? Advice?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Mondays! I had this comment all done and then something happened and I don't know if it "took" or if it is lost forever. and now I am worried if I retype it will appear twice. agh.

    suffice to say - love this! I think we have to really look at those things that might drive us crazy about our kids, and examine if it is actually a skill or trait that would benefit them in life. My daughter is outspoken - and many tell to stamp out this boldness. No way - I want her to speak up! I will try to instill that she can do so with tact and respect: but I won't tell her to stop!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sofia: I think we all struggle with this. I try to think of things from their perspective. For example, if my husband and I had a date scheduled and he was busy checking his e-mail and surfing the web, I think I would get impatient.

    I think one of my favourite strategies is acknowledging their feelings (i.e. "You sound excited to show mama your block construction... I'm excited to come look at it! As soon as the baby is fed I'll be there.") Then follow through (and be super excited to be a participant). Remind them of the scenario that played out earlier... "Remember I was busy feeding the baby and I couldn't come at that moment? Thank you for waiting. The baby is fed and now I can come see your construction!"

    If you're doing chores, perhaps you could share that the faster the dishes are put away, the sooner you'll be able to come and see their construction, play with them, etc. They may help you to "speed up" the process... or they won't want to help so they'll disappear until the dishes are done.

    Most children really don't understand the concept of patience... it's a tricky one to "teach" because time is an abstract concept.

    Once they do understand time, you can give them a time. My oldest daughter can read clocks, so I find telling her; at 2:00 I will... she will usually be content with that (I always keep the time reasonable... 15 minutes or half an hour). Then I follow through. I will announce that it's 2:00 (if she hasn't already realized it) and I do whatever I promised to her.

    Consistent responses and enthusiastic follow-through. That's my best tip.

    ReplyDelete
  4. RoryBore: My daughter is bold too! At first I struggled with it... I saw how others could "interpret" it as rudeness. But that's their problem (and one day my child's boldness will serve her well).

    Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree, this is such a great post! My daughter is really shy, at least with adults. I am afraid she comes across as rude. When I apologized for her shyness once I was told "you know that is not necessarily a bad thing". She has many typical virtues such as kindness, gentleness and compassion. She is generally a "composed" child. I suppose in some way her shyness is intertwined with her composure and so I should be thankful for this.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love the look on her face! Good job at capturing that :) One of my sons is very "aggressive." But not in a physical way. He is very motivated, but can seem too "pushy" at times. If there is a reading contest with a prize or computer time for the fastest cleaner, then he will make sure he does his absolute best to get that reward. Sometimes I need to remind him that he doesn't have to do EVERYTHING, and let him know it's ok if he doesn't get this or that, but I see this character in him as a good thing. Our children were fearfully and wonderfully made.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for taking the time to post this great advice. I used to use a timer and I guess I slacked off somewhere along the way. I will definitely start using it again, and now I'll be sure to reiterate it like you said. Thank you !!!

    ReplyDelete

I've gabbed too long... now it's your turn.
Your comments make my day... (in a jump up and down excited kind of way)!
So please, take the microphone and belt out a tune.