Ahh- the short cut. Does reading the word make you feel a certain way? Excited? Stressed?
We buy cars with gps for short cuts- stay attached to our cell phones/laptops/email, etc to enhance it, read spark notes to take it, use filters on our photos to portray it, & we often overlook side effects as we are blinded by the chance to make a task easier.
Take a moment to consider if this is how you operate. (It’s ok -you are not in trouble 🙂 … we are just becoming aware of our thoughts.)
How about a relevant childcare short cut example:
Ever since their child was born, our example parents have always stressed about their child crying in unfamiliar situations.
Their child is upset when they leave the room, have a relative or babysitter provide care, or when they need to drop them off at school. And their child being upset makes the parents upset.
These feelings are important fear responses for children to be able to engage. We WANT a child to be cautious, contemplative, & a good problem solver in the face of adversity or unknown circumstances.
However…in this example, In order to alleviate the stress in the moment (in juxtaposition to addressing the issue of the child’s insecurity or inability) the parents consistently:
- carry the child who can walk on their own,
- allow them a pacifier past the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended age of 6 months,
- give back the bottle at night after a handful of inconsistent or even unenthusiastic efforts, even though the Dr said it’s time for a sippy cup,
- provide food as a source of reassurance,
- choose to allow the child extra tv time past established limits,
- keep them up past their usual bed times (if they even have one!),
- …I could keep going… but if you are a parent, caregiver, or have any experience with children- you know where I am going with these examples.
We are talking about the daily interactions with a child that are easier to step in to soothe, to fix, or complete yourself, instead of modeling how to act, speak, or react.
(Which- anyone who is reading who has ever heard their name called repeatedly knows- sometimes stepping in is easier than teaching.)
This post also covers a range of parenting thought reaction cycle struggles; from introducing finger foods, to potty training, all the way to helping your child choose a college, career path, family planning, etc…
…What have the parents taught the child by using short cuts?
- That when you do not feel like following your plan – you can take the short cut.
- That when the right thing to do is more difficult than another option – take the short cut.
- That when a task requires taking challenging steps to solve problems – take the short cut.
Self Reflection Time
Ever find yourself complaining your child is lazy, irresponsible, or all over the place?
Stop commenting & start evaluating YOU.
- Are your expectations clear?
- Are your methods consistent?
- Are your rules flexible enough to allow you to apply them as needed?
Are you walking through daily experiences while learning & growing with your children- or are you taking it all on your shoulders & modeling short cut style methods of operation just trying to survive each day (& feeling frustrated when your children model the same M.O.)?
THIS. MUST. END.
How To Balance Out the Short Cuts
We are quick to forget the feeling of the thought that we are unable to handle a task that has been given to us, or the shame of not knowing the answer to a question. Not to mention the guilt of making a bad choice. Really- think of the last time you were unable to complete a task without assistance (& that includes no google!) it is not a great feeling.
Well- fear not. We will face this together. We will develop our thought patterns to ensure we can evaluate our proper response in different situations. We will react purposefully- & we will be able to explain & justify our actions- as they will be intentionally thought out.
I wish to reassure you just as I reassure children- no matter how many bad choices you have made- all that matters now is what you choose to think, & subsequently act, now.-Ms. Sheri
Are short cuts bad? As with most things- the answer is short cuts are ok in moderation. There is always a time that calls for quick action, adult intervention, &/or personal caregiving preference. But that time is not every time 🙂
So- let’s make sure that that’s how we engage short cuts- as intentionally intended.
Any choices you make should be decided. Teach yourself positive methods of intervention, reaction, and modification. YOU are the adult. You are in control of how you think & act. YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE every. single. interaction.