I was thinking about my soon to be 6 year old’s birthday the other day when it hit me. Out of the blue. “He could very well remember this – for the rest of his life”. And yes, he probably won’t remember this thing – but we all have memories from our youth, and we don’t get to choose what our kids remember.
So it made me nervous. I mean I have literally been saying for years, “He won’t remember his 1st birthday. His 2nd birthday. Even into his 5th. I use it as an excuse to cut out the over the top things. And to focus on what’s important. At least to acknowledge that when we do things for our small children – it’s often for us adults.
But kids are going into a new stage.
Erik Erikson was a psychologist. He won a Pulitzer prize. He defined some levels to growing up. And our kids are into what he calls:
Stage Four – Industry vs Inferiority
Children mature and their level of self-awareness increases. They understand logical reasoning, scientific facts, and other matters that are typically taught in school.
But they also become more competitive during this Erikson stage of development. They want to do things that other children of the same age can do. When they make the effort to perform a task and succeed, they develop self-confidence. However, if they fail, they tend to feel that they are inferior to others.
So we’re in a new arena here parents. This time it feels like it matters. They will remember the wins and the losses. And if they’re human they’ll be more hurt by the losses than happy with the wins.
My point is that they will put this on themselves.
You’ll want to make them winners at everything – that’s called bulldozer parenting. Bulldozing the obstacles out of the way.
You’ll want to monitor their moves and give feedback on the mistakes you see – that’s called helicopter parenting.
And now you realize what I said; we’re in a new arena. And it will have its challenges just like a 2 year old, but different challenges. The challenges will be on you, as much as your kid, and he has a memory now, so let’s work on helping them, but not too much, and always being there asking how they felt about their successes and their failures.