Like most parents, I try to teach my kids many things, to be kind, compassionate, patient and understanding. But I also want to teach my kids to go with the flow. That’s a hard one. When things don’t go as planned – and they sometimes don’t despite our attempts, I want them to just go with it. Of course, I know I’m asking a lot of my kids at age 2 and 5. However I don’t want meltdowns over the little things either.
Case in point: We went to the movies with my sister-in-law and two nephews; GamerBoy and The Paxter, on one of the cold days while on holidays at the cottage. After buying tickets to see The Smurfs 2 and getting snacks, we went into the theatre to find that there were no seats available. I saw maybe three, if we asked people to move over, but there were definitely not 7 seats.
After speaking with the theatre staff, they suggested we change movies and see Turbo. Of course, it didn’t matter much to me, but my Little Bird started to cry. I wanted her to understand that we were still at the movies, and we would make it a point to come back and see their original pick, however, let’s go see the other movie, as it was going to start in 15 minutes, and there were seats available. The alternative was that we got a refund and went home, without seeing any movie at all.
Eventually she stopped crying, we all settled into our seats (7 in a row!) and she had fun. We all did, it was a great movie with a great lesson. However, once the movie was over, she was still talking about how disappointed she was. I explained to her that while we may be disappointed that we didn’t get to see the first movie, we did get to see a good movie. And we all had fun.
Plans are already in the works to go to the theatre again to see The Smurfs 2. (However, something tells me the lesson won’t be as strong as in Turbo.)
How do you teach your kids to go with the flow? Is it just something that’s in their nature? Can it be learned? Does it come with age? I have a feeling that it’s a combination of all three.
My Little Bird is someone that likes structure, order and things to be the way they ought to be. If you say we’re going to do something, it’s what she puts in her head, and she has a hard time adjusting to something different. But sometimes stuff happens. And sometimes plans need to change.
I just hope she learns that under those circumstances, she can’t get too upset and trusts that it will be okay. Until then, I’ll just keep explaining that sometimes we’re disappointed, but when there isn’t anything we can do about it, we have to try to go with the flow!