Life With Nine Kids

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

11 Ways Your Child Loses When You Rush Him Through Life

 I have to constantly tell myself to slow down; especially after having so many kids I have realized that there was a time that I was more patient, and a time where I was less patient. And then a time I was more again... and then less again. It goes in cycles. I have to remind myself to not rush everyone. Their life is new and not passing them by. There are one thousand little ways I could/have/do rush my children.

 Having so many little people demanding so much from me and so many mouths to feed can be overwhelming. I actually use emotional recall at least once a week to remember the days when I had an abundance of patience and time to enjoy the little things. Then I take a step back and try to implement those things into our life. When Charlotte (now 17) was two we used to have picnics almost every day in a school bus pop up Play-Hut. If it was bad weather then we'd eat lunch, mostly together, inside.

 I would make a beautifully laid out lunch for us and take blankets and the bus outside and we'd look at the sky, sing songs, laugh, play... and simply just be. I taught her all kinds of things. Too be kind, to love, to not go into the road, anything I could think of to fill her growing brain with goodness. We did flashcards. We made pictures and put paint on our feet and walked on paper. Back then there were a million hours in the day.

 During holiday time we'd paint the front windows of the house with the holiday theme. On hot days we'd play in the sprinkler. We'd use sidewalk chalk all the time, we had pet mice, we danced like fairies under a 30 year old willow tree as the thin branches full of wispy leaves brushed our faces. Multiple children are amazing... but that one where you do everything for the first time is a moment frozen in time.

 I try to recall those times when I find myself rushing Everett from the hen house or through the grocery store. I try to remember to slow down when fetching meat from the basement freezer so a preschooler can ask me four questions about whatever they see before we get back upstairs. I have to work on sighing at the sight of spilled milk because it's the 7th kid and one billionth time it's happened... but to them it seems like only the 5th time they'd ever spilled anything (lol). If find myself frustrated over chores (theirs and mine) taking too long (they probably aren't taking too long I'm probably impatient) I then try to ask myself 'what does it matter?' 
 See, I'm a part of a rush along through life society and I have to make a conscious effort to slow down. I find myself rushing children who should get to enjoy the cycles of the day and childhood. Plus, what will *I* miss out if I rush them... I miss out on them. I only have them a short time.

 So the above link is a great list and a reminder of why and how slowing down helps grow really great and happy kids. I want to cut and paste the text of it below for my future use as well:
Rushing our children through life: 1. Influences the developing brain. Your child's brain is being built every day, and the shape it takes depends on his daily experience. Some neurologists hypothesize that reinforcing neural pathways in a daily context of stressful hyper-stimulation creates a brain with a life-long tendency to anxiety.
2. Increases the levels of stress hormones in kids' bodies, which contributes to crankiness, difficulty falling asleep, weight gain, and immune suppression.
3. Makes them feel pushed and controlled, which triggers power struggles. Studies show this feeling--in adults who work at jobs where they're at someone else's beck and call--sends stress hormones sky-rocketing.
4. Overstimulates them so they can't process everything coming at them, which undermines learning.
5. Habituates them to busyness, so they become easily bored, craving electronic stimulation.
6. Keeps them from discovering and pursuing their own passions, which is necessarily a slow, organic process of experimentation and dabbling.
7. Creates a chronic feeling of incompleteness, which steals the joy of mastery.
8. Keeps children from attending to their emotions throughout the day, so in the evening they have a full backpack of feelings pressing for escape. That triggers meltdowns and can eventually lead to addictions like food, media consumption and shopping, which distract us from our emotional baggage.
9. Constantly interrupts their developmental work of exploring the world, so they lose their curiosity.
10. Forces them out of the groundedness of the present moment, into the breathlessness of scrambling to keep up, which undermines their authenticity and connection to deeper meaning.
11. Overrides their natural inclination to "do it myself," sabotaging the development of competence.
Not to mention, rushing makes us less patient and less nurturing with our children, so it's impossible to parent well.  A mom wrote me the other day that she realized her son wasn't dressing himself partly because she was always in such a hurry that she just dressed him, rather than helping him learn how to do it himself. Another mom wrote that after she got into a fight with her daughter, she realized she had been “too distracted, too busy, to slow down and just be kind.”
This week, notice how often you rush yourself and your child.  Notice the price you both pay. 
  • What can you change to slow life down?
  • How can you build more time into transitions so you aren't always rushing?
  • What small daily rituals can your family use so that everyone has a chance to connect to deeper meaning, rather than just hustling through each day? Think deep breaths, gratitude practices, moments of quiet cuddling.

And maybe even stopping to watch the sunset.


Jamie said...

Love it! Great advice for all moms and dads!

Life Mummy said...

A lovely sentiment! Thanks for reminding me to slow down, I have six children and home educate and some days do feel like a constant rush but in reality nothing more gets achieved and it is stressful.