Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Power Of The Word "Okay?"


Parents may do it…

And they may not even realize they are.

Hindsight is always 20/20 and it may be a few years down the road that we realize we didn't handle this or that right when it comes to parenting our child. We may realize that inadvertently we gave our child power when we shouldn't have. We will all have failures and successes in our parenting. We may realize much later along the path of parenting that what we at one time innocently thought to be an affirmation of what we'd just relayed to our child was instead viewed by them as us asking if they were okay with our instructions.

Giving our child instructions happens everyday as a parent. We tell them to sit quietly in the shopping cart as we shop for essentials. We instruct them to bring us their dirty plate as were loading the dishwasher. We remind them that there is no running in the house, no jumping on the beds and no leaving the door open. I distinctly remember when my children were around the ages of four and five saying "Close the backdoor! We don't live in a barn." Every day we give our children instructions of how to behave, what tasks they need to complete and teach them what behaviors are acceptable and what aren't. We wouldn't be good parents if we didn't give instructions to our children. The word "parent" is of German origin and it's meaning is to teach. As parents we truly are our children's first teachers. With that naturally comes blessings and huge responsibility.

When we give instructions to someone
 and follow it with an:
 it only stands to reason
 that we are then asking:
 "Are you in agreement with me?" 

It's easy to see rather quickly how asking a child this could take you down a path as a parent to a destination you'd prefer to not go to. Obviously the child may more often than not may think to themselves… "Well… no, I'm NOT in agreement… I WANT to watch another t.v. show… I WANT the gum ball from the machine… I DON'T want to set the plates on the table for dinner." This may then be verbalized… their feelings and then… yikes… as a parent the door has been opened innocuously enough for negotiations. Despairingly, you may stand there faced with a small frowning face holding it's stance… as you wrack your brain, searching for what course of action to take next… because now you feel backed into a corner.

If you continually tell your children "Come put your shoes on… we have to go, Okay?" you've added an opening for them to dispute what you're telling them to do. The door is wide open for argument… for whining… for "I don't wanna's!"... the meltdowns that make parents cringe and want to disappear like a visible stain on a shirt.

By asking our children if they are okay with our directions we are subtly asking them if they want to comply. This leads children into believing they are in the driver's seat… their in charge and they are the leader and you're following them in a game of insanity.

The word "Okay" has huge power… and it holds much power not only for children but for adults as well.

When it comes to adults the word "Okay" is a good thing… it can actually help our relationships... bringing connection and affirmation, rather than pulling us apart like children and needing time outs from one another.

Think about the last time your spouse did something where they undeniably had great intentions but for some reason or another it didn't quite turn out how you expected. Maybe your spouse bought a new outfit and you're both getting ready to go out. You're wearing something dressy and he walks downstairs wearing a much more casual look. This is a time that could literally make or break your night out. Should you say something? Will it cause an argument? Will it cause hurt feelings? You naturally want to have a conversation about it but what should you do? How do you approach it? Or do you just shrug it off and move on?

It may have been helpful if when beginning to get ready to check in with each other on what you plan to wear. If looking like you're both wearing clothes that belong in the same season, are of the same style, etc is important to you… it's better to be proactive than to say something after the fact that may turn your perfectly fine day into a not so great night.

Telling our spouse "Hey… I'm thinking of wearing such and such… what are you thinking of wearing?' or "Hey, does this look okay?" joins you together… it unifies you and asks the other's opinion… this can be done by men or women… as it shows your partner that yes… you value what they think and you want to make an effort to look great together… to start your evening on the right foot. Obviously there are a dozen other scenarios… to choosing new dishes for your home… to where to get the oil changed… to where to go to dinner… we can affirm our choices and include our spouse in them by simply asking "Okay?" and being matter of fact about it. This isn't an opportunity to wield control or to be sarcastic in tone… it's not an invitation to sneer, roll your eyes, sigh, stomp off, mutter, or huff… (did I cover all of them?) but instead it's to bring you and your partner together…

To show that you care… and you're supportive of each other.

And doing that sets a great example for your children. 

© ~ 2014 

No comments:

Post a Comment