What is it that our kids need from us the most? What is the prime factor in any parent-child connection? What paves the way for learning? I used to think that it was respect, patience, knowledge understanding, and your time. I have written in this space about those things and I still believe in their importance. But I have come to understand that these are building blocks for a much more important and complex reality. Parents need to be consistent when providing these , that is true, but they are not primary in and of themselves. They need to be present as component parts but they combine to create one reality. As the title suggests I believe there are only two things that parents need to be aware of if they are striving to be the absolute best parents they can be.
The first one is creating the best relationship they can between themselves and their children. This is first and foremost. As many of us know this is not as easy to do as it sounds because so many things can get in the way. For instance our own past history and the relationships we had with our own parents. This can be especially problematic if the parent(s) still haven’t worked through their issues before having kids of their own. That ends up like building a house on a sand foundation. Perhaps we were forced to adhere to messages that were not appropriate or healthy. We may have been encouraged or taught how to hate someone for their differences. Our belief systems are easily manipulated when we are young because we desperately want to believe that our parents would never hurt us or lie to us or tell us stuff that isn’t true-would they? Then there are our experiences at the hands of others. That could involve abuse of some kind or what we were told over and over again by people we didn’t know or who didn’t like us. We can make our kids our best friends or worse we can become their best friends. The difference?? Best friends rely on each other for support. We listen to them and they listen to us and then we problem solve together. Our kids should never be asked to solve their parents’ problems. It is not healthy to ask for or expect our kids to provide our emotional support. Friends comfort each other-that’s why their friends. Parents are not supposed to be comforted by their children and supported through a traumatic time. Our kids are not equipped for that and boundaries can become a serious issue. That’s why we have to pay absolute attention to our kids every day and not just check in with them when they are hurting or in trouble of some kind.
They need to know from us, on a daily basis, that they are loved, valued, taken seriously when they are serious, and that we will listen to them without judgement or criticism. Ask them about their day-how did it go?-what did you learn that you didn’t know before? Show that you are interested in their lives and that you care. We need to encourage them and teach them how to think for themselves. Now this is not new news but the point is we cannot teach our children anything of value without them knowing in their hearts that they are in and are a part of a strong relationship with us. It does not matter the lessons we have to teach them or the importance of them sharing our experiences. It does not matter what we feel, as parents, or what we need to show them or demonstrate to them about life itself. As parents we need to understand what a healthy relationship looks like and what it can provide our children.
The primary desired outcome is that there is a genuine trust that has been established and as long as that trust lasts your kids will want to learn all you have to teach them. They will watch you and learn about healthy relationships. They will learn about how to manage emotions and how to accept success. According to Parent Magazine children who are involved with healthy co-parented families are more likely to experience less mental health issues, less involvement with legal systems, have better and more healthy relationship with partners, and do better in affairs. Whether a parent physically lives at home or not that parent still needs to be involved in their children’s lives. He /she can still make a difference. It’s being involved and showing that you care that is most important.
The point here is that parents need to work much harder at establishing a healthy relationship with their kids first and worry about ‘life’s lessons after that’. It doesn’t work well if you are trying to do it the other way around. Parents need to LIVE the lessons they want their kids to learn. They believe what they see so if there is No trust there will be No learning.
Anyways, that’s how I see it.
All the best, Jim and thanks for stopping by.
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