How To Teach Your Child Something You Don’t Know How To Do?

You can watch the video version of this post on my Facebook page.

Today I wanted to talk about a bit more mindset stuff. Because this is important. I posted this quote by Walter Barbe and the quote was “If you have told a child a thousand times and they still do not understand, it is not the child who is the slow learner.” and I LOVE this quote- because it really flips the conventional way we think about kids on it’s head. Everyone is SO FOCUSED on our kids and what they’re doing wrong and the solution to that- that we tend to forget that it’s not our child’s responsibility to learn the way we’re teaching, but it’s OUR responsibility to teach the way they learn. It’s a two-way street! Just because we’re the adults doesn’t mean that we’re right 100% of the time. 

And I talk a lot about this- about us being the Masters in our relationship with our kids- and before anyone freaks out- I mean Master as in proficient, not Master as in owner. We’ve MASTERED… or at least, we’re more proficient at these things already. By “things” I literally mean everything- getting dressed, going to the bathroom, following directions, saying how we feel instead of lashing out irrationally, DOING SOMETHING when we’re asked to do it, not dawdling or stalling, knowing when we’re tired or angry or hungry or triggered… and I know a lot of you are thinking “Okay, well… maybe I haven’t quite mastered those things…” and that’s okay! But it’s also a good awareness to have- because can we REALLY teach our child how to do something we suck at ourselves? That we’re still figuring out, ourselves? That’s like asking a first grader to teach a preschooler how to tie their shoes… it doesn’t work. 

But that’s where everyone gets stuck, right? It’s hard to think outside of yourself and…

1) Recognize that maybe this might be our shortcoming reflected back at us. And I’m not saying that to pass blame on anyone, it’s just how it is. 

2) Figure out how to teach something that we’re decent at- we CAN DO even if we aren’t like 100% on it… but teach it in a way that makes sense to THEM, not just how it makes sense to us. And I hear this all the time- in the Posse and with my clients and in Mommy groups all over Facebook… we think we ARE teaching them how to do something. But often we’re teaching them what NOT to do, not what TO DO… and we’re teaching it in a very surface, very reactive way. We only teach it when it’s a problem that we’re nose to nose with, and we’re teaching it in a way that WE want to teach it.

And quite honestly- that’s why I created the Brain Skills Play Blueprint… because often we don’t even know what skill we’re actually teaching! Again- we get so focused on individual occurrences that we forget to step back and look at the bigger picture and find the root cause. And usually, in my experience of over a decade now, it’s because most parents have no idea what the root cause could possibly be! Because you don’t have a degree in Early Childhood Development! Or maybe you do. But taking that theory- even if you know the theory- and turning it into action that you apply with your kids- and I can tell you from personal experience- it is a VERY different thing- even if you do have a degree in child development to apply it to YOUR KIDS vs other people’s kids because you throw in that emotional attachment piece and as parents we’re often too close to it to recognize it. 

So now you’re down a rabbit hole: you’re trying to teach a skill you may or may not have mastered, but you don’t know which one, or how to teach it to your child so that it clicks for them. And that’s how parents end up in a VERY DEEP very dark place feeling like they’re BAD PARENTS and they’ve tried EVERYTHING in the conventional wisdom and NOTHING WORKS and OH MY GOD I MUST JUST HAVE A BAD KID… and it turns into this massive spiral of self-doubt and frustration.

So going back to the Walter Barbe quote… when I posted it there were quite a few parents who were like “Wow- I really needed that reminder.”

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About Allana

Hi, I’m Allana. I teach parents of toddlers and preschoolers why their children are misbehaving and what to do about it without yelling, shaming, or using time-outs. When not teaching parents about behaviour you can generally find me chasing around my two boys, reading cheesy romance novels, or hanging out with my own parents.

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