Why I want my kids to disagree with me and prove me wrong

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This morning Oliver had an idea: he decided to rollerblade to school.

Even so, we both tried, because “he’s still not capable” to rollerblades on difficult terrains and going uphill and downhill by himself—and the way to school is all either uphill or downhill. I was so convinced he couldn’t do it that I even told him “You’re not good enough yet, you first need to practice with daddy and then you can do it”. I tried to scare him “It’s very difficult to rollerblade to school, it’s all uphill and downhill, and you still can’t do it without help”.

If you know Oliver, you’ll also know that there was no convincing him otherwise. There was going to be a power struggle, so I looked at the time and decided: “Ok, Oliver. It’s still early. If we leave at 8am you can rollerblade. But you have to get dressed now, you won’t have time to play before leaving, and I won’t be able to help you. You have to do it all by yourself”.

Long story short, we left at 8am, it took 45 minutes to and maaany falls, but he did it, he rollerbladed to school! 

He had to stop half way (it’s really all uphill!), and he moaned the last couple hundred meters, but Emily and I cheered him and he was so proud of himself every time he could go over an obstacle he thought it was too difficult and every time he refused my help, which I offered several times—he accepted my hand only to go down a steep downhill.

When I say that our kids teach us if we’re willing to learn, this is what I mean.

I’m sad that I believed so much that he couldn’t do it that I preferred trying to bring him down and tell him he’s not good enough to convince him not to do it. I tried to do to what many parents do: decide for him and tell him what he can or can’t do based on my own knowledge of him and judgment. All because it was more convenient for me if he biked, like always.

Luckily, we taught Oliver to contradict us, to disagree with us, to fight for what he wants. And to prove us wrong as much as he can. I struggle a lot with his stubbornness and he does’t always surprise me positively, but today he showed me that I’m struggling for a reason: the future Oliver, an independent thinker, a self motivated adult who doesn’t let others affect his decisions and his view of himself. He rocks! 

We can’t always let our kids decide, I know that sometimes there’s not enough time or they don’t fully understand the big picture not matter how much we explain, and we have to make decisions for them. But we should always believe in them and let them decide as much as possible, because they’ll often prove us wrong. 

Trust them, Carlotta, you know they always surprise you.

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The woman behind the words

My name is Carlotta, I’m 33 years old, I’m Italian, married to a Finnish guy, and together we raise Oliver (4) and Emily (2) Montessori and multilingual. We’re selling everything to travel the world.

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  1. Che bello Carlotta!
    Io non faccio bene il mio lavoro di madre a volte, per la fretta, per le contingenze che ti portano a dover dare priorità ad altro, per il timore…ma se c’è una cosa che lascio fare a mio figlio è provare.
    Provare e fallire, provare ed avere successo.
    Con le cadute, le gioie e le delusioni che comporta.
    E’ vero, non si può fare sempre e non si può fare per tutto, ma quando riesco a farlo e vedo che, come nel tuo caso, lui mi smentisce e va contro ogni mia più negativa previsione, sono così felice perché so che lui stesso è ancora più orgoglioso di se.
    Quando poi è capitato che mi abbia detto: “Hai visto mamma, fidati di me, sapevo di potercela fare”. Beh, li ho capito di aver vinto un po’ anch’io con lui.
    Certo, questo non significa far comandare il bambino, ma avere un bambino capace di un pensiero autonomo e consapevole, che sarà in grado di accettare i suoi limiti perché li ha provati e non perché qualcuno gli ha detto che lo erano.
    Grazie per questa bella conferma e per l’aiuto e gli spunti che mi dai sempre.
    Un abbraccio. Silvia

    • Carlotta - April 30, 2019

      Grazie a te, Silvia, per questo commento molto profondo e per aver condiviso con noi la tua esperienza. Che bello quando le conferme ce le danno proprio i nostri bimbi! Stiamo facendo un ottimo lavoro con loro, a volte vale la pena ricordarcelo e darci una pacca sulla spalla. Quindi ti do un cinque virtuale! Un abbraccio forte 🌸

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