3 Things That Matter Most to Your Kids
| SAHM SUCCESS TIPS |
Until our children become parents themselves, they will never know how much we do for them or understand our level of dedication.
Being a mother means loving someone so fiercely that it scares the hell out of you.
It’s also exhilarating in the most beautiful way. Your heart is open, exposed and vulnerable to both the bliss and heartbreak that comes with caring for these little ones. Everything that happens in their childhood echoes into their future and that’s a pretty daunting notion.
What if we screw up? What if we’re too harsh? Too soft? Are we giving them too little attention or too much?
Let’s take a deep breath and remember what’s important: the love, the play, and the guidance. These are necessities.
And while I’m certainly no expert, this is a subject worth examination and discussion; doing so helps to keep my eye on the larger picture and the message I’m conveying to my children.
show them where they stand
The days may seem to drag on and we may feel like we don’t have the energy. We also may be so wrapped up in our own problems that the hyper toddler pulling on us is just irritating.
Whatever the excuse, we’re going to have to get over it.
As a parent you have to make the effort and show your children how important they are. In doing so, we hope to build their egos and prepare them emotionally for life.
Self-confidence is one of the most important tools we can bless our children with. It can take a person so far in life, yet without it a person can struggle in virtually every area.
So let’s set aside our issues and take an interest in our children. Get to know who they are and praise them for their individuality. Childhood is fleeting and we need to grasp every moment, enjoying and relishing in each and every one. Pick up your children while you can, cuddle them while you can and study their faces before they change yet again. There is a last time for everything and they come all too quickly. The day my son was born I had the realization that he would never need me as much as he did in that moment. He would soon hold his head up on his own, feed himself, learn to walk and then I’ll blink and he’ll be driving off to college. I’m already heartbroken about it and he’s two.
My goal in life is to not be one of those people who looks back over the years and wishes that they had devoted more time to their families. Make the effort every day to connect, in some way, with the people you love. I’m not saying you shouldn’t take time for yourself as well (that would lead to madness). I’m saying you should make time to be emotionally present with your child. No phones, no TV and no computer. Join them in their world and marvel at their imagination and excitement. Be happy to do so, or at least try your best to fake it. These are the times they will remember and treasure the most. They’re the times that show them you’re interested in who they are. It can also be a lot of fun to let loose and get in touch with your inner child.
nurture their curiosity, don’t suffocate it
If you were to sum up parenting in one objective, it would be to prepare your children for adulthood. We do this emotionally, but also intellectually. Nobody wants to send their baby off into the world only to have them move back in the next week because they can’t fend for themselves. Well… that’s how we’re supposed to feel anyway. I selfishly wouldn’t mind it if my children lived with me well into their 50’s (sorry honey!).
I think the importance when dealing with development and academics is balance. There seems to be this intense pressure today to advance your child. Some kids love learning and look forward to structured events. Some of them could care less and would rather eat the paper than cut it on the dotted line. Know your child and don’t force it. There is nothing wrong if your little one does not develop ahead of schedule and you have nothing to feel guilty about. Also, let’s not underestimate boredom, which can really challenge a child and put their creativity to work. Letting a child entertain themselves is beneficial to all parties involved. Maybe it’s overlooked because it’s too easy. Maybe we, as parents, are bored. It’s much more entertaining watching them perform for us than to watch them dig in the sand. Or, maybe it’s just that intense pressure and fear that we aren’t setting up our child for future success.
Let’s try to take it easy. Learning doesn’t need to be so structured and it will happen naturally through each experience you share with them. Just be a little sneaky and extremely fluid with it. Find activities that don’t feel like learning and do not direct them or force them. The minute they stop having fun, that’s when you need to call it quits and pull it back a little. If your child doesn’t seem to be interested, be sure that you are sitting beside them and engaging in the activity. You can get your points across by talking casually and sharing your different approaches to the task. They will catch on. While the main objective of here is to aid in development, see it more as a tool that can help to strengthen your bond.
During the holidays I tend to go heavy with tot school, but usually I just find a few activities each week in attempt to mix things up a little. In the past I have been really organized and structured, but I just found that it was too much stress. Mostly, I try to look for learning opportunities in everyday life. For example, when we go shopping I would let my toddler hold on to the list and “read” the items to me. I point out letters and numbers, ask him where the yellow lemons are and I let him put the items up on the conveyer belt. The sneaky little guy actually told me that candy was on the list. Two years old and already trying to pull one over on me, can you believe it?
being a hypocrite… not cool
You may not realize it, but you might be a hypocrite. Don’t get mad at me, I’m also guilty at times. You want your kids to stop screaming by screaming at them. You tell them to pick up after themselves but you leave your craft stuff spread all over the house and, the most confusing to me, you teach them not to hit by hitting them. Illogical as it may be, the idea is to do as I say and not as I do, right?
These slip ups aren’t’ usually a big deal, but try to be the example of who you want your children to become. If you lose your temper, respect them enough to apologize. You are human and you make mistakes, just as they do. And just as adults can lose it, accept that no matter what kind of discipline you implement in your home, your kids will always act out and push you to your limits. It doesn’t mean what you are doing isn’t working, it just means that they’re growing and developing. As soon as you have them figured out they will change on you and you need to be able to adapt.
We want to be respected as parents and I really feel it should be a two-way street here. The thought of making a child submit to you is archaic. Put all the personal stories and examples aside and just look at the broad research. If physical harm is not necessary to raise a well-behaved child, then why do it? Where is the logic in causing harm to someone you love, in attempt to get them to listen to you? Each child is different and although you feel you haven’t been negatively affected by physical punishment, don’t make the assumption that your child will feel the same way. Respect their bodies and never be the source of their fear or pain. There are plenty of other ways to discipline them that will show them how to properly handle your anger. Be the adult and find another way. Trust that your child can figure things out without you resorting to methods of harm and intimidation. We are here to guide them and prepare them for the real world and in the real world, we don’t go around hitting people in a desperate attempt to make them do what we want. We are supposed to have control over our emotions and deal with our issues in a productive manner. Be the example, give them the right to feel safe in their homes and respect their bodies.
When it comes to discipline, I tend to resonate with the RIE methods, as it makes more sense to me and has proven to be more effective in my parenting. Start off by reminding yourself that your child wants nothing more than to make you proud, yet they have this internal struggle to assert their own independence. They’re just kids and this is part of the package. So, it may be helpful to change your approach so that it seems like you’re not just ordering them to do something. Be more of an ally than the dictator. Use the right tone, give them some control (choosing between two shirts) and try to make things fun. You can also alleviate so much drama by using the five-minute warning during transitions. People joke about it, but it really works by letting them know what’s coming rather than you interrupting them in the middle of their play. Of course, they will still push you at times and will still try to get a reaction from you. Act as if their behavior is no big deal. Be to-the-point, confident and unwavering when it comes to your guidance, but then carry on. Children thrive off of attention, both positive and negative.
We all have different parenting philosophies, keep in mind that this is just my opinion. I’m sure that as I continue to learn and grow as a parent, my views will grow and evolve as well. For now, this is what makes sense and what is important to me. Children have been a huge part of my life long before I was a mother and I have always found their development and psychology particularly fascinating. Especially their natural tendencies to find wonder in even the smallest things in life. Also, those little hands and high-pitched squeals…
I’m going to go smother my children with affection now.