Before I begin, let me warn you, I do not hold a degree in Childrenology or Childtronics but as a fully qualified parent of two lovely kids, I can say that they have taught me more than anything that I have learned from schools and training programs.
One of the biggest questions I have when I am dealing with everyday parenting is ‘what is the secret of being a lovely parent. One, that is liked by my kids, the one parent who can be approached anytime and ask me about anything?’
There is no one secret but a lot of great memories and lessons from the past. As they say, you are turning into your parents. This is very much the case for me and I want to share some of the things that I learned from my dad and mom. Also there are plenty of instances when I got educated from a discussion with my colleagues at work or just by observation. So here are three main concepts that we use at our home and I stand by them,
- Children come first
Make it a point to make sure they come first. Not your phone, not your email, not your car but they. Yes, surprisingly it is true. Even though we are made to believe by loads of commercials, professionals and other alike that you come first. It is not surprising when you look back and see a glimpse from your childhood that when you needed your dad or mom, they were there. You may also remember instances when your dad or mom were busy with work or something and you missed them. You really needed them and they were not there. Now think about this for a moment. If you surround your children’s lives with more of the moments when you were there and less of those times when you were not. This would make a big difference on their self confidence and strengthen your relationship with your child. Today, this is more vital as we are all surrounded by a bunch of distractions. Make them your first priority at least most of the time.
- Negativity Time Out
You had a bad day or just pissed off or have a headache. All that is normal for being a parent and to top it off, you kids are not cooperating. You had enough and its time to let the steam out! But before you do, remember two things. Its always OK to let you steam out and make sure you have a stopping time (5 min, 10 minutes, 30 minutes) but not longer than any time that is considered way too long. Because although it is normal to be angry, get in bad mood, it is very important to get back to normal, not stay in a bad mood, and start being the loving parent that you are. If you can make a come back quickly, then all your child will remember is that you were upset, it was not the end of life and that you love them. This is also a learning opportunity for them to deal with similar emotions.
- Say it like it is
It is OK to tell them the truth but age appropriate analogies and proper explanations will save you more time and more grief than just lies which by the way will make your situation quite worse. Lets picture this one with an example, Your child wanted to eat an ice cream, and you promised him/her that you will take him tonight and you find out that somethings come up at your job and you have to work. Here are a few things that you have to work on before you deal with this situation. My partner in crime, aka my lovely wife, had me working on this for over a decade even before we had any kids. It is quite simple, “Say It Out Loud Like It Is (SIOLII)”. Lets apply this to the above example in three such SIOLII instances /moments.
- Make sure your child understands that you work and knows to some degree what you do for a living. This again is a SIOLII moment. You will get um-teem number of opportunities to educate your child. Use examples to make them understand your profession.
- We have already established that children come first, their safety, their well being and their health is more important than anything else especially anything materialistic. Again, find those opportunities when you can and use them to educate about what matters. Teach them the difference between What is a necessity and what is a need. A roof on the top, clothing and food is all that matters as far as life is concerned and the ability to be together and share life experiences good or bad is what matters.
- Finally, on the day you promised your child an ice cream and have to cancel, you pull a SIOLII by telling them that you have to work that evening and that the ice cream outing will happen possibly tomorrow. Always provide a substitute and never let them hanging. So instead of offering them ice cream, make them some strawberry smoothie and When life gives you lemons, make lemonade 🙂
The Advises & suggestions are from my own experiences, please take it with a pinch of salt. If you liked this article, please share!
Image Attribution:Copyright: sjenner13 / 123RF Stock Photo
Very wise Blog from a very wise Dad! I especially like point #1. If I am supposed to be watching a movie or spending time with my 13 year old son and I am texting, I am not in the moment with my son. Children notice when you are fully present and engaged with them. A couple of times, my son called me out because I was texting during our movie night. Now, we have phone free meals together and movie nights. Don’t waste your time on your phone when you could be spending precious time with your child. The years with our children past way too fast as it is.
I would love to read more of your Blogs on Parenting. 🙂 Keep up the good work!
Very well said. Thank you for commenting. Glad you liked what I wrote!