I don’t know why it has taken me so long to figure this out, idioms have always been something that have given my boy trouble in the past. When he was little I once found him sitting in the closet crying because he thought he had really injured me because I told him “He cracked me up”. So why then, why did it never don on me that using the stupid phrase Practice makes perfect would mean so much more to my boy than to others?
This stupid cliché that has some how become the parent go to has created havoc in my boy. Your child will come to you saying they don’t want to play the piano because they keep making mistakes and what do you say, “Practice makes perfect!” We think we are helping them. Letting them know that no one does things automatically, but with repetition they will get it. We have good intentions, we always have good intentions.
But to an Aspie, at least my aspie, this is just setting him up for frustration. My boy sees the world in only two colors: black or white. He is either good at something or he isn’t; and if he isn’t good at something well of course why would he want to do it! The concept of having to practice something is foreign to him. And if he does practice and now he still is not perfect… well you can see where this is going.
And then there was the whole, “If practice makes perfect and you say there is no such thing as perfect, why practice?” discussion to which I had nothing. Seriously I had no response to that one. He stumped me so I went with the whole ignore the question route.
I don’t want my child to give up because well in life there always going to be things that don’t come easy to him at first. But I don’t want him to be frustrated either. So I discovered that I have to use different words, be honest and straightforward with him now.
“Jay, I know playing the bass is hard, that is why so few people choose to play it. But you love challenges it seems because that is why you chose to learn to do it. And that is what you are doing… learning. That means sometimes you will be able to pick up and play something right away and other times, well you might have to play it lots of times and even then it may not sound like when you teacher plays it. And that is okay because you are learning and trying. And learning and trying is what really matters. Each time you play it again you are tweaking your form, making it a little better. The more you tweak, the better your form, the easier it is, the better it sounds.”
So in our house we don’t practice… we TWEAK!
I was feeling pretty bad about not figuring out this whole idiom thing, but I guess even in parenting Practice makes perfect… Oops… I am not practicing…
I AM TWEAKING MY PARENTING FORM!!!