We’ve all heard of good intentions and bad intentions, but what about negative intentions? Mum of many, Zombie Mother, talks to us about negative intentions today on MMM and how to combat it when it comes to our kids.
Intentions, intentions, intentions; we have always been taught the importance of intentions. We have to have the intention to pray and to fast, and naturally we have an intention for all our actions. We have an intention to sleep when we lay in bed, or to eat when we sit at the table with a plate in front of us. We even have an intention of what we are going to do in the loo when we sit on top of the toilet (perhaps the little or big squeaks of escaped gas are not so intentional at those moments, but luckily we have kids to blame for the unwanted odour when your husband next walks into the bathroom.)
We always try to have the best intentions in what we do and towards other. Likewise we try to teach our kids to have the best intentions; however, kids are born so innocent and perfect in their own way that they are better off being shown by example through our own actions.
Now, did you know there were negative intentions? I am not talking about bad intentions – stop thinking you’re oh so smart! I did not know the difference myself until my Super Mindful Mother-in-law explained to me that as humans we automatically create an intention for others with our own expectations. She gave me an example; everyday her husband would eat a cookie and leave crumbs on the countertop. Everyday she would be on standby, watching with her beady eyes as each and every crumb began to fall. She would quickly rush over with a napkin and say, “Honey! You’re always making a mess!” Sometimes she would even reach for a plate before he got his cookie so he could use it; what a romance. WRONG! Apparently, she had already formed an expectation that he was going to drop crumbs all over the counter and leave it there without giving him a benefit of a doubt.
In my Super Mindful Mother-in-law’s scenario, she didn’t give him a chance to clean up after himself or even a chance to think halfway through his cookie exercise that perhaps he should have used a plate. She immediately trained him to think that every time he would eat a cookie he would get told off and the crumbs would get cleaned up for him. What she also did not realize is that he did not want to dirty an additional plate for her to wash, but also have evidence that he had eaten a cookie (he clearly was doing something wrong if he got caught by her every time.) Does this sound like it could relate to us mothers (and perhaps wives too)?
Likewise we try to teach our kids to have the best intentions; however, kids are born so innocent and perfect in their own way that they are better off being shown by example through our own actions.
My child is old enough to shower and change by himself (yes, I have waited many years for this dream to come true) and when I enter the bathroom or his bedroom after, I find his clothes and his towel thrown all over the place. I am not a flexible roll up that can just roll, or bend and flex with ease; my joints are feeling a little rustier each time I celebrate a birthday, so to think of having to reach for each and every item of clothing in different piles on the floor, is just tiresome. I’ve tried yelling and asking nicely, but for the most part nothing has produced long lasting results. I look at him with a glare and he in turn looks at me blankly and just shrugs his shoulders. **Oh he did not just shrug his shoulders at me!** FAIL.
It dawned on me; each time I’ve told him before his shower not to throw his clothes all over the place, I’ve ultimately created an intention for him already; ‘he is the kid who makes a mess when he showers’. This only causes him to lose confidence in his ability to be independent. And why did he look at me with a blank stare? I know he really isn’t so dumb.
**Light bulb moment** or **desi dance moment** or **fireworks** whatever appears in your mind in these “aha” moments – I had set my son up for failure right from the start. I never explained to him the benefits of putting away his clothes or hanging his towel. I could have said, “keep your floor tidy so you have space to play and hang your towel so it dries properly and does not smell moldy.” I never created a space for him to utilize in carrying out these tasks so how can I expect him to remember without a visual prompt? I placed a clothesbasket near the shower for his clothes (now there is no excuse) and I created superheroes towel hooks in his room for him to hang his towel. Has it helped 100%? No. Has it helped more than 50% of the time? Most certainly. He is happier, less confused, and I’m now justified to tell him to put away his stuff receiving less attitude because he knows his responsibility.
As parents we always have negative intentions as well as high expectations for our kids. We think our kids are too young to understand or be responsible, but you will be very surprised. I coddled my eldest and let my youngest run wild, and today my two-year-old understands the rules of the house more than my eight-year-old. I intended for him not to be responsible for his own actions until he was much older, so now I cannot fault him for that. On the plus side I’ll have my two-year-old cooking dinner for me in no time and then I’m totally sorted for life!
As parents we always have negative intentions as well as high expectations for our kids.
Just a little food for thought, what do we really want our kids to be like as they grow up; how do we really perceive them, as an individual or as an extension of ourselves; and are we creating intentions for them? At the end of the day we can be their biggest hindrance in life, but let us start by using positive reinforcements to prevent negative intentions. It always begins with us.