Come on, 'fess up. How many of you will admit to doing a little, um, strategic art directing once the kids have finished decorating the Christmas tree?
I've got a good friend who r-e-a-l-l-y wants to be more 'present' with her kids this Christmas and less distracted by all the pressure to make everything perfect. For her, that partly entails refraining from redistributing everything once her kids have finished
messing up decorating the Christmas tree. She's done well this year – she even sent me a picture of the tree once the kids were finished and claims she didn't so much as move a bauble or hide a tacky piece of tinsel round the back.
Speaking of tinsel, I may have mentioned that my youngest has taken the lead in decorating our Christmas tree this year. We let her choose a new decoration for our Christmas tree the other day – in a tasteful shop, of course – and yet she still managed to seek out the only strand of tinsel in the entire store. At least it's gold, I suppose, and not pink. I'd have found silver marginally less offensive though.
But, much as I wince every time I clap eyes on that tacky tinsel, I've no intention of removing it from the pride of place my daughter has given it on our Christmas tree. I'd no more dream of tinkering with her tree decoration skills than I would do her homework for her. To me, a fundamental part of parenting is learning when to hang back and let kids make decisions for themselves. That might start with something as simplistic as where to string the tinsel, but it won't be long before those decisions have bigger consequences, and my ability to watch over her without interfering will be more important still.
So no, I don't rearrange the kids' efforts at decorating the Christmas tree. I watch and 'ooh' and 'ahh' and congratulate them on a job well done, safe in the knowledge that they are learning that I trust them to make choices for themselves, and won't jump in and override them every time they make a decision that I might not have chosen for them.
And if that tacky tinsel becomes all too much as I'm gazing at the tree this festive season? I'll just remind myself that this is why there's Baileys in the house. One glass down, and the tree looks picture perfect anyway.
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