Most disagreements and misunderstandings come from different perspectives. We each experience life through our own unique filtering system and what appears to be absolute truth to one person may take on a totally different view to someone else.
It is only natural that we will have different points of view. The expression to ‘never criticize someone until you’ve walked in his shoes’ is a wonderful reminder to be easier on those who see things differently.
How does this translate into parenting? Let’s suppose that your child insists on wearing his favorite sweater. You try to persuade him not to wear the sweater because he will be too hot. You are coming from a grown up perspective. He is coming from a little kid perspective.
Take along a t-shirt and a pair of shorts and let the child know that it is up to him to decide whether or not he wants to change clothes later in the day. When a child has many opportunities to make choices he is more apt to cooperate when the situation does not allow for a choice.
When we make OBEYING more important than EXPERIENCING, we teach our children that life is not about learning but about submitting to the will of others. A parent who validates a child’s perspective and joyfully allows the young learner to experience decision making, creates an environment that encourages the growth of self esteem and healthy empowerment.
Perspective is what makes the world go round. Try ‘walking in your child’s shoes’ for a little while today so you can remember how it feels.