In an effort to “parent” our children, are we robbing them of the art of concentration? I recently came across an article promoting supplements for children to aid concentration. I thought to myself:
“Why is concentration a concern for today’s children?”
“What role are we as parents playing in this lack of concentration?”
The answer I came up with is CONTROL.
In an effort to be better parents, we are mistakenly co-mingling control with support. We are running an aristocratic family within a democratic society, like an industrial-age business trying to flourish in a knowledge-age economy. It doesn’t align emotionally, physically, socially, or spiritually.
Children are having difficulty concentrating because we are constantly interrupting them. We control their schedule and limit their interests, all packaged in a pretty disguise called “I know better than you” or “I don’t want you to miss out on something.”
I have a perfect example of my “control” breaching my child’s concentration: Last week, Emily was creating a paper labyrinth. She had peacefully and intently worked on it for over an hour, when I announced that it was time for bed. My initial reaction was to abort Operation Labyrinth. And I caught myself: “Is bed time an absolute rule? Do I know her body better than her? Do I have a right to break her concentration and interrupt her creativity?”
I decided not, and let her continue even though the rest of the house was in shut down mode.
Ironically, freedom actually promotes self-discipline. Footnote: freedom that they can handle.
My goal as a parent is to support my children’s transformation into self-disciplined, socially responsible, healthy, loving adults. That means to me that I have to model this behavior and give them the opportunities to practice it on their own accord. This is supportive and not controlling.
The more natural way to increase our children’s concentration is to be more mindful ourselves. Conscious parenting and mindful living calls us to look at our “controls” and “auto responses” and allow more concentration, more freedom, more discipline. It’s a new paradigm: maybe I don’t know best. Maybe I have lessons to learn too, and my children are my guides.
- Ask them to choose what is of interest to them.
- Allow them to work without interruption, deadlines, and time constraints.
- Prepare an environment with less stuff, fewer scheduled events, and more time to wonder, explore and be creative.
That’s when I feel inspired and most connected. I want to offer my children the same respect.
Love & Peace,