Branching Out: Parenting Insights Through Friendship

The other day my family was at a local park in Houston {Levy Park, definitely a hidden gem} with some friends of ours for a kiddo play date. We have preschoolers, full of energy and excitement the moment they jump out of the car. And in their quest to release that energy, they suddenly decided they wanted to climb a tree. It was a small moment in time, but I’ve been reflecting on why this moment and its parenting insights really left an impression on me. 

child climbing a tree after parenting insights from another motherThere was a tree near us but with no real climbable branches, at least not at the level they could reach. They ran to us and begged, “We wanna climb the tree, help us, help help help!” My initial thought was, “Well, they definitely can’t climb that tree. The first branch is too high up, someone would need to just put them in there.” But my friend had a different response to them, and I couldn’t help but admire her approach.

Fully knowing the impossibility of the task, she said, “Ok try it. See what happens.” 

Her kid responded, “But I can’t, I need help.” 

“Just see what happens!” 

And she kept repeating it to him- “Just see what happens!” 

So they went to the tree and stared at it for some time. They tried jumping up to reach the branches. They circled it a few times. They looked very confused. We looked away and let them do their thing. When we looked back, they had found two nearby chairs that they had dragged over and were then standing on trying to reach that first branch. Still too high. They started making moves to stand on the wobbly armrest of the plastic park chair, moments from toppling over. Ok, time to intervene. They got off the chairs and looked for something else taller and more stable…naturally, their dads’ shoulders were the next best thing. They happily were hoisted up and got to “climb” the tree. And how self-confident they looked. End story.

I have always considered myself an intentional parent. {Well, as intentional as one can be amidst the chaos of snack negotiations and daily house destruction.} But I do try to put forward a conscious effort into the words I choose and the interactions I have with my kids in order to really promote their self-growth. I want to lay the foundation for them, not be the architect of their life, and so I focus on core skills.

This moment at the park would have been a missed opportunity for growth for my child if my friend had not been there. My child learned to try something new, problem solve, experiment, and readjust. Through interaction, movement, and communication, she flourished.

I would have robbed my child of that opportunity to be a critical thinker had I just said, “Sorry, I don’t think you can climb it, but I can put you in there.” My friend’s approach underscored the need to let children explore the world without me adding blinders to that journey. And though this lesson will always stick with me, what I was most moved by was the powerful reminder of the wealth of wisdom among us mothers.

Seeing my friend’s parenting insights in action at the park was a real moment for me. It reminded me that there’s a whole tribe of moms right here with me, and I need to tune into their wisdom more often.

As mothers, I think we spend so much time and energy thinking about our kids and their growth and if we are exposing them to the right things at the right time and raising them to maximize their potential… man, it’s exhausting. We can get lost in our own heads trying to figure it all out. 

So I want to give a big shoutout to Jessica for her seamless parenting insights. Thank you for helping me grow alongside our children. Motherhood is a beast. And that’s what makes having a community, whether made of friends, family, or even a collective like Houston Moms, so special. We’re all learning and growing together.

Previous articleFive Simple Cleaning Tips for Busy Moms
Next articleTop 10 Reasons to Call Houston Home
Cindy Dafashy, MD
Cindy is a first-generation Ecuadorian-American who grew up in San Antonio but discovered her love of Houston while completing her undergraduate degree at Rice University. She then moved around Texas for her medical training, before returning to the area for her Family Medicine residency at UTMB. To challenge her time management skills further, she got married and had two children (2019, 2022) during her training. Together with their families, Cindy and her husband are raising these kiddos to discover their Ecuadorian and Egyptian roots through language, food and music. In her downtime from being a mother, Cindy works as a Family Medicine doctor in her own clinic, Archway Family Medicine Direct Primary Care. She is passionate about patient education, price transparency, and helping others navigate the currently dysfunctional healthcare system. You can find her on Instagram @archwayfamilymed teaching tips and tricks in both medicine and understanding how our healthcare works.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here